Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Photographer makes a monkey of McCain

The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine I wish would publish more poetry than it does, and photographer Jill Greenberg are under fire for photos of John McCain in the current issue. I saw a video clip earlier in which Fox New's Megyn Kelly rips into Atlantic Monthly editor James Bennet over the issue in a way I have yet to see anyone rip into John McCain. Bennet was very apologetic and said he was drafting a letter of apology to the McCain campaign.

Greenberg is well known for her exhibition End Times, which consists of photos of crying toddlers (very disturbing but not creepy exactly). When I went to check out this exhibition I saw a link for “Monkey Portraits," her 2004 exhibition of photos of - you guessed it - monkeys.
"...Greenberg has created a series of monkey portraits and asks us to consider, in another way, where we are coming from. We look into her monkey’s expressions, their faces - their peculiar physiognomy - and somehow see ourselves. It is frightening and disorienting and exhilarating and awesome. She mischievously shows us another type of mirror-stage, where we confront an ancient and distorted reflection, another startling spectacle, and try to make sense of who, or what we are seeing. By intentionally anthropomorphizing her monkeys, we can’t help but identify with their gaze, and be reminded of people we know, expressions that we have seen before."
Greenberg's photos of these animals have a cartoonish quality that is both disconcerting and stunning (the same goes for the toddler photos). I've included one of the monkey photos, titled "Yikes," here, which should not be confused with Greenberg's manipulated McCain photos which you can see on her site, www.manipulator.com.

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