What a Child Sees

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    The Post Where Jill Greenberg Thinks She Can Intimidate Me by Contacting My Employer

    Jill Greenberg. Artist. Advocate of free speech and expression. Except when someone disagrees with her and is critical of her work and methods.

    Some of you may recall that recently I have been upset by the methods of photographer Jill Greenberg in dealing with and photographing children. Jill is the one who strips kids down and then works them up into a state of emotional distress and then shoots them distraught and in anguish, tears running down their little face, and calls it some kind of protest art against the Bush administration.

    In my mind what she is doing is abuse. It's emotionally abusing children and it's wrong. So she doesn't agree with me. Fine. Her husband wrote a comment on my original blog post on the matter and in fairness I elevated the comment to the actual article itself. I fully admit that I very well may be reacting emotionally on this matter having four little ones of my own at home. I believed that two sides deserve to be heard and was more than happy to allow Jill or her husband or her gallery owner or any of her supporters or friends to voice an opinon on my blog -- even to the point of including her husband's comment in my original post.

    But how does Jill respond?

    First she tries to discredit me as an insane person with personal problems who she doesn't even think has kids (even though in my blog post about her I clearly state I've got four children, have photos of my four children up on flickr and elsewhere on my blog etc.) She tells this to a professional publication American Photo (whom I've asked for a retraction from and who never contacted me to verify her claims even though they pulled quotes from my same post that referenced that I had four kids).

    Next, Jill tracks down my employer, an unrelated third party who has absolutely zero to do with my personal views and opinions and tries to apply pressure to get me to pull my post. She literally calls my boss this morning who has absolutely zero to do with any of my blogging. (By the way Jill, I blog from my own laptop on my own time). The last company who thought that they could intimidate me by involving my employer, an unrelated third party, went by the name PriceRitePhoto. I don't think they are in business anymore but feel free to Google them to read the story.

    And then her husband tells me that in his opinion I'm committing libel. I'm committing libel for having an opinion that what Jill is doing to these kids constitutes abuse. That to emotionally work these kids up is abusive. My opinion Robert Green. He goes on to tell me that if I want to discuss this further that I get a lawyer.

    So this is how the great artist Jill Greenberg decides free speech ought to work in this country? This is how someone who disagrees with her methods ought to be intimidated -- by threats of lawsuits and calling unrelated third parties to try and pressure someone? To try to discredit someone and make blatantly untrue accusations in a National magazine?

    Jill, your husband writes on his blog that I'm a "crazy asshole with a blog." He uses an illustration likening me to a child molester. Do I threaten to sue him? No. Because speech is and should remain free in this country. Do I try to do research on the internet and track down the people in Hollywood that he's worked with and threaten to sue them? No. Again, they have nothing to do with his opinion and again it's a free country. Believe it or not freedom of speech is actually something that is constitutionally guaranteed. I am in fact, and I know this is a stretch for you here, allowed to have the opinon and speak my opinion that what you are doing to these children is abuse. And I'm not just some crazy guy with a blog. There have been other bloggers who have been critical of your methods as well. I'd encourage you to read these posts by Joe Wilcox and Charlie Owen. And you know what Jill? Joe and Charlie are fathers too. Imagine that, the shock, actual real life fathers outside of Hollywood could possibly object to your behavior. Are you going to call their employers and try to intimidate them as well?

    Click here to continue reading.

    Cameradawktor, OwenBlacker, and 49 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. imanptest 94 months ago | reply

      What did Thomas Hawk expect to happen, when he calls for a fellow photographer to be "Arrested and Charged With Child Abuse" (as he does in the title of his article) for simply doing what is a common practice in commercial photography? As has been pointed out previously, the tactics Jill Greenberg employs are ones used in making movies, advertisements, etc., etc. I fail to see why something she has done in the name of art is worse than the same thing done to sell a product. If Thomas Hawk had made those same comments in a newspaper he would probably have been sued by now. What would any of you have done if you had been accused of being a child abuser and a criminal in a public forum? Her husband may have gone somewhat overboard in contacting his employer, but what would you have done to protect someone you love?

    2. torbakhopper 94 months ago | reply

      "Her husband may have gone somewhat overboard in contacting his employer, but what would you have done to protect someone you love?"

      i would've slapped her in the face and taken her picture, of course

    3. joshifoto [deleted] 94 months ago | reply

      I think you need to chill out. Kids throw tantrums all the time and sometimes taking a photo of them can actually help lighten the situation when they see the photograph. My niece starts laughing if I go to photograph her when she's crying!

      And the fact of the matter is that you've only got yourself to blame for getting into this mess in the first place. Grow up or shutup!

    4. CrazyCookieWV 94 months ago | reply

      I think that those photos are totally beyond belief! I would consider them ABUSE! If I took photos like that, you betcha the Welfare would be beating down my door....or the people next door .....you know?

      We need to take a stand for these kids!

      This little voice from WV.....


    5. aurora_tf152 94 months ago | reply

      If you are interested in Jill Greenberg's art or how this controversy is affecting the value of her art, you can check it out on eBay. I'm selling a picture from her Monkey Series:


    6. Rigas 94 months ago | reply

      The whole controversy makes me feel America is becoming mad! Hopw could you ever call the Jill Greenberg photos "abuse"?
      Mr. Thomas Hawk is due for a visit to the psychiatrist!

    7. Paul_Gray 92 months ago | reply

      I think you are WAY over reacting.

    8. Chad & Steph 92 months ago | reply

      Yes, he's way over reacting to having a psycho wannabe artist ,who profits from the suffering of children, call his employer in an attempt to get him fired. I mean, what kind of pussy gets all worked up over mere child abuse and theats to his livelyhood? Be a man! Quit your job and beat your children full time!!

    9. Pieter Pieterse 92 months ago | reply

      Thomas, I used to have respect for you, but since you found that you could use flickr as a soapbox for your bigotry, I don't anymore.

      Flickr was not invented as a platform for all your personal vendettas against other people. If Flickr represents anything - then it is definately about diversity! Something you seem to have lost sight of completely.

      Please take your intolerance somewhere else and try posting only your photos to flickr again. I think everyone will be better served. This is the wrong forum.

      Your attack on Jill was uncivilized and reflected more on your shortcomings than on hers.

      I'll thank you for introducing me to Jill Greenberg's work.

    10. elneenya2 92 months ago | reply

      1) Flickr allows us the capability of having discussions and posting comments about photography. That makes it a perfect platform for discussing photography in an uninhibited way.

      2) Pieter, I respect your position on the issue, but you are essentially calling Thomas an extremist, when the issue at hand is Jill Greenberg's extreme behavior. Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? Sure--Thomas has opened a can of worms by starting this discussion, but how many of the flickr posts have been from Thomas? Not a single one. Most of your distaste for this issue is likely coming from other people's opinions. I think Thomas is extremely smart for staying out of this discussion. It kind of makes us turn the microscope on ourselves. And it also gives us a clearer picture of what outsiders really think of the issue.

      3) As far as I can tell, Thomas has only posted his own photographs on flickr.

      I agree that both sides have inflated the issue FAR beyond an arguable point, but again, isn't it we who flock to this discussion who are fanning the fire?

    11. OwenBlacker 92 months ago | reply

      I have to agree whole-heartedly with elneenya2. Surely the whole point of this discussion here is to debate the issue. I don't think anyone is “using Flickr as a soapbox for bigotry”.

      And, surely, the whole point of Flickr being a “social software”, “Web 2.0” site is to enable people to interact, as well as looking at pretty pictures. If we only wanted to post our images for people to see them, there were plenty of sites that did that before Flickr…

      I fully respect that you disagree with Thomas on this issue, Pieter Pieterse, but I think your attack on Thomas is just as unjustified as you feel his “attack” on Jill Greenberg is.

      I couldn't agree with elneenya2 more.

    12. Pieter Pieterse 92 months ago | reply

      Elneenya, you misread - of course Thomas posts only his own photos - that was never disputed.

      I hoped that he could continue to post only his photographic works and not the diatribes. I think flickr is a forum where visual communication is practiced, whereas the written word is more suited to other types of blogging, perhaps?

      But, here I am actually discussing it, so I guess by partaking, I'm proving myself wrong. Point taken thus on the interaction and yes, we are fuelling the fire, which is probably great. It all points back to the effectivenes of Jill's masterful artwork. It provoked an emotional response and much social debate. In my opinion, that is the very purpose of art in society.

      Owen, as regards the soapbox. Flickr has a much higher potential for high placement in search engines than say a personal site or blog. Knowing that, you could use the description field in combination with some arbitrary photo, like what is done here - to boost the publicity of your message.

      The last thing I wanted was to also seem to "attack" Thomas, that was not my intention.

      I referred to "bigotry", because of the language used while voicing his opinions. Thomas expressed his dissaproval with phrases like "Sick Woman", etc. Such language does not constitute civilized debate, but is rather harsh and sounds sexist ?! Such behaviour is perceived to be extreme - at least outside the USA?

    13. Pieter Pieterse 92 months ago | reply

      After all that, I think elneenya and Owen are both right.. I should have perhaps just stayed out of it - I didn't really contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way and still had to explain after the fact.. I was, in fact, actually being intolerant myself.

      My apologies to you, Thomas, I added no value - I should have just left it alone.

    14. torbakhopper 92 months ago | reply

      i still wanna know what kind of people buy these works and hang them on their walls for enjoyment

      so let's move past the whole behavioral issue and focus on economics for a second

      it strikes me as HILARIOUS that her "value" has gone up as a result of this. predictable novelty career patterns make for really sad encores (you know, what next?). but the old medical advice is to get the poison to rise to the surface for extraction... one good turn [of the knife] deserves another

      the ultimate revenge on her project is here, and growing. if any should like to contribute, please feel MOST welcome: happiness is EASY

    15. mherrero 88 months ago | reply

      Excellent portrait and good light.
      Seen in someone's favorites.

    16. Paul_Gray 82 months ago | reply

      Oh I see plenty of bigotry here

    17. cin cin fu 68 months ago | reply

      Per favore, aggiungi la tua immagine al gruppo/
      Please, add your photo to/
      Por favor, agrega esta foto a:

      Negli occhi di un bambino (In the eyes of a child/En los ojos de un niño)

    18. mhwaad2000 65 months ago | reply

      such a nice boy

    19. Ms. Kathleen 52 months ago | reply

      Your photo is adorable!

      I would be honored to have you join our group and post this wonderful photo:
      Natural Kids

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