Atlantic Monthly Used Photographer Who Admits To Manipulating McCain Photos

Posted Sep 14, 2008 by Susan Duclos
Liberal photographer Jill Greenberg was hired by The Atlantic to photograph John McCain for their cover and she now admits to deliberately manipulating photos according to an exposé done by PDN.
Republican Candidate John Mccain
John McCain
Photo courtesy of John McCain 2008
Jill Greenberg is a self-admitted hard core Democrat and while she didn't hesitate to take the job of photographing John McCain, she does say that it was "somewhat irresponsible" of The Atlantic to hire her given her previous work, according to her exposé in PDN.
The Atlantic did not use the deliberately manipulated photo of McCain and instead chose a different one, but Greenberg speaks about how she manipulated photos to make McCain intentionally diabolical looking. Greenberg also kept out-takes of the photo session to manipulate and use on her site and to sell to other publications.
After getting that shot, Greenberg asked McCain to “please come over here” for one more set-up before the 15-minute shoot was over. There, she had a beauty dish with a modeling light set up. “That’s what he thought he was being lit by,” Greenberg says. “But that wasn’t firing.”
What was firing was a strobe positioned below him, which cast the horror movie shadows across his face and on the wall right behind him. “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds.
Photographs not used in the October edition of The Atlantic, taken during the same photo shoot and called "outtakes" are shown by American Digest, including manipulated photos showing blood around John McCain's mouth with shark's teeth inserted, one with lipstick around his lips, and the one she admitted to for the PDN piece with the lighting from the bottom giving him the diabolical look.
American Digest explains a bit about "outtakes."
It's a question, you see, of the disposition of all the McCain "out-takes" from this shoot. Out-takes are images taken of a subject at a photo shoot that are not used for publication by the client commissioning them. Typically, when you hire a photographer for a shoot -- and I have hired dozens over the years -- the photographer delivers all the film or digital images taken to the editor and art director for their review and selection. In a professional shoot these can easily be dozens if not hundreds of images.
But there seems to have been a "leakage" of some images between Jill Greenberg and her clients at the Atlantic. How intentional this is, how much the staff of The Atlantic colluded or did not collude with Ms Greenberg I have no way of knowing just yet. But at this moment Ms. Greenberg is displaying on her website (Hit refresh to cause the page to cycle) the following images which can only be based on out takes from the Senator McCain / Atlantic Monthly photo session:
You can also see a full spectrum of Greenberg's manipulated photos at ImageBam.
Whether The Atlantic was irresponsible for hiring Greenberg, as she stated she believed they might be, is a matter of opinion, but reading the full American digest article about this topic shows the owner of The Atlantic's wife, Katherine Brittain Bradley, is "on record in one instance for $28,500.00 to committees supporting Barack Obama," which has many questioning if The Atlantic deliberately chose Greenberg, not despite her bias but because of it.
Readers can decide for themselves.