b. 1967, Montreal, Canada
Since the age of 10, Jill Greenberg has staged photographs and created characters using the media of drawing, painting, sculpture, film, and photography. She is known worldwide for her uniquely human animal portraits which intentionally anthropomorphize her subjects, as well as her infamous series “End Times,” which struck a nerve in its exploration of religious, political, and environmental themes exploiting the raw emotion of toddlers in distress. Her newer work has marked a return to the postmodern feminist theory that inspired her senior thesis, “The Female Object,” as an art student at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1980s addressing “the disciplinary project of femininity” and the redetermined failure of all women who attempt to “succeed” at it.
As a working photographer she travails to straddle the line between assignment work and her own personal work. On one notable occasion, a conflict arose when she was assigned to photograph the Republican candidate for presidency in the summer 2008—at the height of his popularity. After delivering the assignment exactly as requested, she chose to speak out in the form of agit prop outtakes on her own website, which she was legally allowed and morally compelled to do. The violent backlash from her political art also informs Greenberg’s choice to return to the question of what is tolerated by women in our culture.