By now most everyone has heard of the Jill Greenberg/John McCain escapade, especially editorial photographers. Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are a few links to catch up on:
From an editorial photographer’s stand point, this takes an incredible amount of balls. In one fail swoop Greenberg has alienated herself from photo editors and publicists. I’m sure this was conscience on her part, but still… an immense amount of balls. Apparently her fine art and commercial assignments are going so well that she can afford to write off that part of her business. Good for her I say. I wish I were in a position to make such a judgment. But the fact of the matter remains she totally blindsided her photo editor and client The Atlantic. Of course (in my opinion anyway) she didnt disclose her true intentions for I am sure (again, my opinion) the photo editor would have said “Are you out of your f*cking mind?”. We dont know the terms of the contract but one thing we do know is that there was only a two week embargo on the outtakes. WHA THE??? Not one assignment I have ever shot, ever, has given me only a two week embargo. The norm for me is 1 year, North American, which seems standard. Did the photo editor miss that part of the deal. I’m sure not but I bet they were so hungry to get a unique cover that they allowed the photographer to dictate the terms of the shoot. What a position to be in. In reading the above links, the best part of the discussion in the comments is the consistent hostile attitude towards Greenberg. It’s quite obvious (at least to me anyway) that the majority are not engaged in making a living from having a camera in their hands.
While I can appreciate Greenberg’s move and artistic statement, the reality is most of us would never have the balls to make such a move. I know I wouldn’t. POOF! The sound of all my editorial contacts going bye-bye would be the only thing I could concentrate on. In reality though, she did fulfill her contract. The Atlantic hired her to shoot the cover, she did, waited two weeks and then made her statement. I always get a little nervous when things like this ripple through the community. In the backlash, you can bet that all assignments going forward will have an iron clad embargo. Not to mention the extra hassel of pre-approved lighting set-ups and having the agents and handlers looking over your shoulder. As if it isnt hard enough to get your work done in the short amount of time you have. Imagine now every other frame, having to stop and letting the publicist chimp.
(insert sarcastic raised eyebrow look ‘:~} )