Strike a pose (before the photographer strikes you…)

September 16th, 2008

Knowing how to dodge the bullets of rapid-fire media interviewers is no longer enough for public relations professionals and those they serve. Now add to the list, learning how to balance light and dark, literally.

The Photo District News blog reports that photographer Jill Greenberg intentionally shot photos of Republican presidential candidate John McCain in a “diabolical” fashion — all with McCain or his entourage none the wiser.�

Says Greenberg of her satanic-looking shots, “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.

Greenberg took advantage of the unsuspecting Senator and his campaign staffers while on assignment for The Atlantic. She also snapped shots of McCain in a more heroic light, which is what she’d been asked to do. Greenberg admits she didn’t bother to re-touch the photos to remove redness in McCain’s eyes or other flaws that are nowadays customarily addressed with programs like Photoshop–despite her reputation for doing so rather artfully, at least when it comes to babes and bears.

Greenberg, also known for her antagonistic portrayals of President Bush, says she had no reservations about accepting the assignment in the first place. In fact, that she set McCain up seems to her, the fault of the magazine. Given that she claims to be a “hard core Democrat,” the photog says, “maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for them [The Atlantic] to hire me.”

With her set of devil-like snaps in hand, Greenberg says she hopes to make a few bucks selling them elsewhere, and even negotiated into her contract with The Atlantic a two-week window to do so. And if she does, she says she might re-touch them after all—with bloody shark’s teeth in McCain’s mouth.

Note to all you “sophisticated” public relations practitioners: better add to your list of crises you manage, Sleazy Car Salespeople-cum-Photographers skilled in the art of bait and switch.
Posted Under: Media & Journalism, Public Relations
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