September 14, 2008
The Picture of Deception
I’m not going to defend the fact freelance photographer Jill Greenberg deceived John McCain, embarrassed her client, The Atlantic, and potentially damaged her burgeoning freelance career. Beyond the drama — BAGnewsNotes being primarily about the picture –I find her subversive, up-lit portrait of Steve Schmidt’s client brimming with characterological truth.
(click for full size)
(For a more detailed background on how Greenberg, after taking the cover shot, tricked McCain as to which way the light was coming from, and went on to do even more bad things, check out Rachel Hulin or PDN.)
In fact, I find a certain poetic justice to the episode.
The hiring of Greenberg, compelled not just on the basis of her background and experience but also her sometimes maverick artistry, offers parallels to the GOP’s hiring of candidate McCain as its nominee. McCain promised one thing — a different kind of campaign, one with integrity, one with candor, one with access — and then delivered something else. Greenberg actually trumps him, because she did deliver a cover shot that The Atlantic was perfectly happy with. The thing is, she used deception to get the goods on McCain, as well.
In that regard, the Dr. Evil portrait — beyond its blatantly unintimidated look at a not-so-friendly or nice McCain – is also poetically perfect in the way the shooter and the subject, two otherwise widely accomplished and popular performers, are both revealed as characters of subterfuge.
Jill Greenberg website.
(images: Jill Greenberg. 2008)