(American, born Canada 1967)
Untitled (Ursine #13A-4), 2008
archival pigment print, 50 x 43 inches
Artwork courtesy of the Artist
Jill Greenberg’s photographic subjects include babies, celebrities, politicians, and a variety of animals, all of which are posed in a formal studio setting and illuminated with theatrical flair. Her arresting portraits capture a startling range of emotions in her sitters, human and otherwise. Greenberg’s photographs of monkeys and bears—all of which are professionally trained performers—reveal uncanny human-like “personalities” of the animals, a resemblance between species that she considers fundamental to our nature. “For anyone who doubts Darwin,” Greenberg notes, “look in the monkey mirror and think again.” Jill Greenberg’s portraits can be seen in galleries and museums as well as on the covers of popular magazines like GQ, Time, Wired and Rolling Stone.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about when I used to draw doodles and sketches. I’d draw all these crazy characters: animals with clothes on, combined animals, people with strange expressions. Animals and people were on the same level. I hadn’t realized [until recently] that that was a theme running through my work from a young age.