Posted by: David Vernon | September 12, 2008

Smile. Do your job.

Illinois Canyon at Starved RockPhotographer Jill Greenberg is a bit of a lightning rod in the commercial photography community. She’s a bit outspoken and she definitely has a style that hits you upside the head. You’ve probably seen her work – she’s had a few projects that had her everywhere: in-studio crying babies, monkeys, and bears. She’s also shot a ton of celebrities – and has had a lot of national magazine covers. Her website is even emblematic of her personality: Now frankly I think she’s got a great look and really gets great emotion from her subjects. I like her work very much – even if I think other do not.

And now she’s stepped in it a bit with her peers. She landed a gig photographing John McCain for Atlantic Monthly. She’s an ardent Democrat (and again in disclosure so am I usually) and well, Senator McCain is not. And she did a bit of a hatchet job on him. And then she talked very publicly about it. And she doesn’t appear to regret it. Her peers are already weighing in this afternoon. I suspect we’ll see some kind of non-apology apology any moment.

Another hot commercial shooter, Chase Jarvis, had a post the other day talking about this very thing – entitled “What you can’t see matters“. Some good advice for photographers on not leaving a bad taste in their client’s mouth. And even if you’re just shooting a gig here in Central Illinois, no one probably held a gun to your head forcing you to take the job. If you sign up – put the big smile on your face and be a pro. Even if you’re only earning a few extra bucks on the side – you’re reputation is worth more.

Now I’m done with Friday.

UPDATE (Wed., Sept. 17) -=- Mark Tucker, a commercial shooter,  has a great “lessons learned” about this whole fiasco. It’s gotten a lot more interesting since last Friday.


  1. All politics aside… unprofessional, unethical, unforgivable. She should have not accepted the job, knowing full well that she would be upsetting a lot of her colleagues. I just went by her website and checked her news section… she’s going on and on about the 100,000 hits her website is getting each day. I’m biting my tongue right now to keep from telling you what I really think about her!

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