Jill Greenberg: It’s Not Like Taking Candy From a Baby

Kids cry, as a parent that’s a simple fact that you’ll get to learn pretty fast. They don’t do it cause they hate you or cause they’re mad, they do it because, for them, talking is about the hardest thing they can imagine when all those emotions/desires come rushing through. So you get used to it, sometimes you laugh, you pick them up, give ‘em a hug and keep on trucking. That’s life for most parents, if you’re lucky you get some great shots of them in all their craziness and they end up in a slideshow at their wedding.

Not for Jill Greenberg, as a mom and talented photographer, crying children are a much more interesting and complex subject. Since posting the End Times series on FullyM we’ve seen a visceral reaction from the interwebs (just read the comments below) with typical opinions landing squarely in two camps: she’s mean or she’s a great photographer shooting kids being kids. Her experience with this photo shoot reads almost like a hollywood plot, filled with conspiracy, intrigue, money, politics and threats. Before you tell us what you think read on.

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 10

Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

 

Since the fine art series launched in 2006 and showed to rave reviews in NY, Toronto, Rome and LA it has become something of an internet sensation. Andrew Peterson a Bay area blogger under the pseudonym Thomas Hawk charged Jill as a sick woman, saying “When the Michael Jackson trial was going on, people kept saying, ‘What kind of parents would let their child spend the night alone in a room with Michael Jackson?’ ” continuing “It seemed absurd. And it seems absurd that any parent who loved their child would purposefully take their children to Greenberg’s studio to then be tormented to the point of emotional outrage.”. Everyone from the Guardian to ABC news, NY Time and the LA Times picked up on it and the opinions poured in.

Those strong words were echoed thousands of times and not just once but for the last 8 years the series has taken on a life of its own. The photos have been continually popping up around the interwebs with the mean spirited self-righteous masses piling on their distaste for JIll’s photos of upset little ones.

It all started in 2005 when Jill was photographing a little girl, her brother was also at the set and Jill wanted some shots of him, problem was he had a dirty shirt, like everyone else his age, and wasn’t set to be photographed. So they improvised, shirt off, lights on, camera ready and he cried, he didn’t like it one bit. That spoiled old shirt was what he wanted to wear and he wouldn’t have it any other way so he did what very little ones do, he cried, some photos were snapped, the shirt went back on and (I’m making this part up) Gelato ensued. When the contact sheets came back Jill had something special. A little boy, captured in JIll’s trademark glossy lighting goodness looking about as sad as any human could be. When Jill looked at the photo she thought something funny, something sad, something that echoed the voice of liberal America: crap, another 4 years of GWB, it was like this child knew.

That was the inspiration for End Times, a fine art shoot that Jill would fund herself and hope to showcase around the world. She enlisted the help of her 18mos daughter and her friends and their children all aged 2-3 years old. The first shots happened in 2005, she was pregnant with her son, her son was shot 2 years later to be included in the set.

Girl Candy

The moment of sadness was fleeting. Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

 

The problem with Jill’s photographs aren’t that she harmed children in the process or that’s she’s mean, and we’ll get to the details of her shoot in a bit. Its that most people aren’t used to seeing such graphic, glossy, ultra-real photos of a kid crying; we’re used to the 20fps, tired mom and dad, blink of the eye, ear piercing version. We see, we forget and we move on. Even when we do manage to grab a crappy Instagram version of our kids, after we tell them that yes you need to eat your broccoli if you want a cookie, the photos we take simply suck. Jill’s photos don’t suck, they capture in horrifying detail a normal child crying and amplify it into a crazed, painful portrait of sadness that you can’t take your eyes off. Thats the difference, that is why she is an artist and we use Snapchat.

In fact her photos have captured such raw emotion and such visceral reaction that she’s not just getting hounded by the anonymous hoards at Reddit, or being emailed threats but also being ripped off left right and center.

Jill Greenberg Boy Crying

The moment of sadness was fleeting. Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

First though, the photo shoot. Jill never took candy from her friends kids. The kids had candy given to them and it was requested back by the parents or the siblings. Requested back, not stolen but simply asked for; for many children that was all it took, the gentlest of suggestion that sent the kids over. Was it mean? As a parent of two I’m not sure it was, it wasn’t nice in the right here, right now sense, but those are some amazing photos and I would love to have some great photos of my kid in every emotion, including being sad. I think that’s maybe what’s key here. People are taking these photos out of context like those are the only ones that will ever be taken of these children. These are a couple out of 10s of thousands of photos these parents will have, and they capture something very real about childhood, something worth keeping.

Many of the kids played it up, melodrama in overdrive and Jill was there to capture it all. Some though, didn’t play along, they sat there and handed the candy back and forth like a hot potato all the while looking unimpressed. There was one wonderful little girl, Ava, who Jill hoped would be in the series, but even after two shoots the girl wouldn’t budge. That was it, she didn’t get featured and they didn’t do anything mean to get her to cry. Of course most of the time the kids weren’t crying they were just sitting there like kids do and when they did cry it lasted for a few second and then turned to smiles. Its hard to remember when you look at these photos that time passes but the contact sheets tell a different story.

When talking to Jill I had thought that would be it, cover the real backdrop and set the story straight, but there was much more to this story than I thought. Yes she had to deal with thousands of people calling her a child abuser, and the the constant reminder that the interwebs had forgotten that these were real kids with real parents. She even grew to understand that the news cycle thought it would be good for ad impressions to attack her and her photos even if it was unbalanced journalism. All of that hurt, and as difficult as it was she got used to the sad viral nature of today’s buzzfeed journalism and moved on. Problem was no one else moved on, she had created was awesome and brands and ad agencies liked it, a lot.

JIll is a both a fine art photographer and a commercial photographer. She has some incredible commercial work, different and better in some ways than her fine art photography. There are lots of photographers who love commercial work and it provides a legitimate playground to showcase your style and get paid for it, but in the end commercial work pays the bills and fine art photography pays the soul.

The requests from ad agencies on all sorts of campaigns to use her crying kids started to come in. She got a call for one on child abuse. Imagine after all the nonsense surrounding the series and some ad agency thinks it would be a great idea to use photos of your friends kids as the poster child for abuse. The mockup featured one of the children being strangled, she refused and they ran ahead with it anyhow, paying an artist to imitate her work.

Child Abuse

A mock from the agency who wanted to use Jill’s work in a anti-child abuse campaign. Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Ad agencies paying another photographer to fake the work of someone more talented is nothing new, often with much poorer results only to save a few thousand bucks.  For Jill and End Times it became a bit of a problem, from anti-vaccination propaganda to Swiss and Estonian political campaigns, amusement parks and android apps Jill’s series was a hot item that no one wanted to pay for.

anti vaccine propaganda

Anti vaccine campaign used without Jills permission.

For a fine art photographer who needs commercial photography income, you’re left in a major conundrum. The ad agency makes 90% of the decision, the direction, the look and which photographer to hire.  If they wanted the real Jill Greenberg lighting effect they have to pay, so instead they hire a copycat who will try to replicate her look.  That’s where it gets crappy cause that same agency that might rip you off is the same agency dangling next months potential contract in front of you.  So you smile and pretend it’s okay even when it’s not.

 In the end though Jill has created something polarizing, something beautiful. She set out to do something fun and memorable with her friends and her kids and it blew up in a bad way, that’s the shit part. The good news is her work shines through, it’s powerful, and although I can’t talk about some of the brands that have ripped her off for legal reasons, I can tell you they should have gone with the real deal because the copied work kinda sucks.

Take time to debate on whether you would want these kind of photos as keepsakes for your kids, and be sure to checkout Jill’s incredible art photography books and her art and commercial websites.

 

And here is the original article that appeared on FullyM on June 4th by Meredith Taylor that sparked the heated conversation.

 

We’ve all heard the expression, “…like taking candy from a baby”, but we probably would never consider doing so.

Photographer, Jill Greenberg had no issues with teasing her child subjects with candy and then photographing their reactions after she takes the candy away.

The results are pretty predictable – crying children. The photo series called “End Times” seems a bit cruel and has caused some controversy for Jill. I know if I had children, I wouldn’t let them participate in Jill’s photo shoot. I must admit though, my sinister side laughed a little inside (just a little…).

I think the most interesting thing about this photo series is that Jill captures raw emotion, which is definitely a difficult task, that probably couldn’t be achieved with adults.

What do you think? Is the series cruel or justified?

Update June 13th 2013 1:30pm: The photographer Jill Greenberg has contacted us to clear up some mistakes in our original article. She did not give these kids the lollipops personally, it was the children’s mothers who asked for the candy back, gently. Jill only photographed their reactions.

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 13 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 11 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 15 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 10 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 14 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 9 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 8 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 3 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 7 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 2 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 5 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 1 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

Jill Greenberg - FullyM 12 Photo by Jill Greenberg, used with permission

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Photos used with permision

105 COMMENTS
  • Marq says:

    I think what would be funnier would be for the photographer to get a $40,000 tax refund from the IRS, and the next day someone from the IRS shows up to say they had made a mistake and she OWED $40,000 and there was now a lien on her bank account — then take a picture of the photographer’s reaction!

  • Steve says:

    Are you people seriously up in arms about this? Relax, they are children. The were not traumatized.

  • Kristin Dillard says:

    Oh COME ON. Never letting a child experience any kind of loss or disappointment is more damaging than this photo shoot by MILES. People need to get over themselves. Children who are given everything they want grow up to be entitled, spoiled little brats. And children need to cry from time to time.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199409/parenting-style-may-foster-anxiety

    I think that the photos turned out marvelous. Raw emotion for sure!

    • Robyn says:

      I agree Kristin! This kind of emotional stress happens to kids every day. About twenty times or so, if they’re two years old. Being denied is part of life, and certainly being told no and having things taken away is part of being a child.

      The first picture looks just like my 2 year old daughter, and I see that face every day. Not because I’m a terrible mother, but because I am a good mother. Ride your tricycle in the street? No. (Crying jag.) Eat the pancake that you dropped on the floor? No. (Crying jag.) To say that these kids are traumatized or anything of the sort is ridiculous. I am sure the pilfered candies were given back, and that lots of hugs and snuggles were bestowed, nulling this non-event just like so many before it.

      I know a stranger purposely taking candy away is different from mommy saying “no,” but my point is that it won’t hurt them. Granted, if this was done to the kids all day long for weeks at a time, that could amount to psychological torture. A single trick is not torture.

      As for the other topic that people are so caught up on: Topless? A two or three year old kid is not “topless.” It’s just a kid with no shirt on. Using that word “topless” sexualizes their bodies far more than these photographs do! Little ones run around half naked. And they have crazy hair that they don’t let you brush and they put sticky stuff in it. (To the person who thinks messy hair makes it “creepy”: How’s your kid’s hair?) The wardrobe (or lack thereof) is everyday kid stuff, like losing your candy. Children’s bodies, funny faces, and crazy hair are beautiful, and we should be able to photograph them as they are.

      • JustLoveEm says:

        in the child’s mind (and heart), there is a huge difference between the reality of the situations you used as examples of everyday life and being artificially traumatized so that their responses could be exploited… it adds a whole new level of meaning to the situation that tells these kids that it’s okay for others to manipulate them for their own (sick) purposes… awesome sauce

        • Gabe says:

          It’s not teaching them anything, it’s highly doubtful that any of them will even remember this one event. They don’t yet have the capacity to know that they are being manipulated. You’re putting your adult emotions upon the kids.

      • Ana says:

        ~ It is possible to honor a child’s (or anyone’s) feelings, even while having to deny them whatever it is that they are wanting. Their feelings are still worthy of recognition, valuation and being held in a sincerely empathetic, compassionate way.

        ~ http://tinyurl.com/hearing-hearts ~

      • Heather says:

        Agreed. If my mom showed me photos of me crying like that, I would laugh and say “these are beautiful!” I would absolutely not freak out at her because I would not remember such a tantrum. I was brought up with loss and remember my toys being smashed because my father had had a bad day. Things I loved. I GREW from it, and know that life is unforgiving and sometimes cruel. This didn’t interfere with anything longstanding in the lives of these children if they are truly nurtured at home. Some of these kids are a little sad, not screaming faces. Those parents are great, as the kids were taught that screaming gets them nowhere, whereas the children losing their minds might have parents who appease their kids too easily. There is no long term damage done here.

    • Bob says:

      Please tell me how I can accomplish “Never letting a child experience any kind of loss or disappointment.” I’m pretty sure it’s inevitable – and likely frequent – but I’m eager to hear otherwise. Inflicting it unnecessarily is far different from what Robyn describes. It’s not being able to sometimes shield one’s kids from distress that makes doing so intentionally for not justifyable reason a pretty crappy thing to do.

    • alex says:

      The children will survive. Probably better than most of these bleeding heart professional parents out there. Parents today do their best to over-protect their children by not letting them experience what true life is about. Today, I saw a woman pushing a 6 year old child in a stroller. That is more damaging in my eyes. As a child, i had to learn that not everything is at my reach, and sometimes i had to get hurt. Now, I agree its not nice to purposely hurt a child’s feelings, but this hurt will be forgotten soon enough. Its no different than when your mother caught you in the cookie jar and says “NO” or “Go To Bed” I got over it, and so will these children.

    • Ana says:

      Children need comfort when their feelings are hurt; not flash photography in their faces. Offering genuine comfort in the moments when they are feeling difficult feelings teaches them that they are loved, that their feelings matter, and allows them to easily grow up to become trusting, well~adjusted, loving, secure, generous and compassionate individuals, themselves. This is the kind of society *I* would choose to live in. Our actions, however small, do make a difference. Let’s choose wisely.

    • ignatz says:

      Do you actually see no difference between letting a child be disappointed for a real reason, and CREATING loss and disappointment so you can USE them and take a stinking picture of them crying? REALLY?

    • Fractal says:

      The idea isn’t to *never* let kids experience loss or disappointment. That would be naive. This also isn’t about giving a child anything they want.

      This photo series is about showing children that it is entirely ok to cause others emotional distress, if it means that it gives you a leg up in the world.

      “It’s all right, they’ll get over it…ka-ching!”

      There is raw beauty in all emotions…however, there is a difference between guiding children through their experiences of loss, and intentionally traumatizing them, even briefly, to further one’s photography career.

      This is a sad waste of some obvious photographic talent.

      P.S. This is my first and last visit to this site. I’m not going to be checking back for people’s retorts or witticisms/criticisms. I’ve said what I had to say.

  • Jessica says:

    I want to know the point of the pictures. The point of all of them being topless (that in itself seems wrong) and why all the girls hair looks so messed up. The whole thing seems very wrong and more than “just photographing raw emotion” its all kind of creepy

    • Andreas K says:

      In my opinion, your paranoia is creepier.

      • Ben says:

        Yeah, the persons totally paranoid for noticing that this photographer likes making children cry, and they’re naked. I think the photographer probably has some sick power fetish getting off on making innocent children cry. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found out later on she’s been doing some other stuff to kids. Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she’s not sick. I don’t think they would have let a male photographer get away with this.
        I totally agree with the comments below this is like ‘emotional’ child pornography.

    • Wanda says:

      You are the sick one for connoting children’s nudity as automatically sexual. Think about it. And get some treatment perhaps. People are born nude, nothing sexual about it.

  • JP5 says:

    1. The photo’s are not badly edited. They seem to be edited using the photographic equivalent of a hyperrealistic painting aesthetic. 2. Most of the kids in these pictures have not been photographed immediately after their candy was taken away. The tears and drooling indicate that they have been allowed/forced to suffer for a longer period of time. The distress on the faces of some of the children suggest to me that other psychological tactics were used to escalate the disappoint of losing “candy.” I base this on ten years of working with children in this age range and younger. Also, this can be deduced by the large volume of tears rolling down some of the children’s faces. 3. While the toplessness intensifies the apparent vulnerability of the suffering child and intensity of the facial expressions, it is also creepy. It evokes a feeling that the pictures are beginning to enter the territory of child pornography. 5. I have tried to consider such photography within the context of the scientific research that has been down between facial expressions and emotion. 6. Because of the hyperrealism induced by lighting and editing, the images are more monumental and operatic than the images I have seen that have been recorded in the examination of linking facial expression and emotion. 7. I am torn between appreciating the hyperrealism, being disturbed by the induced suffering, and a feeling that this is a kind of emotional child pornography.

    • Andreas K says:

      “a feeling that this is a kind of emotional child pornography.”

      If that was the artist’s point, this series might even take your side in this matter. ‘Emotional child pornography’ seems perfectly legal. Should it be? I don’t know. Should it be discussed? Probably.

    • Wanda says:

      You are seriously messed up to compare this to child pornography. People are born this way – there is nothing inherently sexual about naked children – you are the one sexualising them with your mind. Sick.

      • Katie says:

        We all may be born that way, but that’s the point…at birth. That’s when our parents and/or guardians clothe us. These kids are at least a couple years old. I can understand to a certain extent–they’re kids, and some like to run around naked! haha. But ALL of these kids that are being photographed? That’s a pretty big coincidence. It might have been on purpose, as Andreas K questions, but it doesn’t say that in the article. We don’t know. Besides, there really are some sick people out there. I was wondering the same thing, but just to the extent of “where are their clothes?” and nothing more. The only reason child pornography would come to someone’s mind in situations like this is if they were actually perverts, they have researched a great deal about it for school or whatever, reading all of the other comments, or just for the fact that it is a really big deal to the Federal Government and is a law, has had media coverage, etc. Oh, or they know someone who has gone through that, or they personally have themselves.

        Here’s a bit more on the law and some others’ thoughts on it: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=54190

  • sarah says:

    They are kids, they will have forgotten in 5 mins. Seriously, we take images of destitute children in third world countries that have real trauma and devastation and people here are getting upset thinking about these poor little cherubs being denied a sweet that will rot their teeth, fill them with additives and make them overweight. I am sure jill took it away for a few minutes, captured the shot and handed the candy back. Perhaps she could show all you over sensitive parents out there how quickly their tears dried when they had the candy back in their mouths.

  • Kitty says:

    Where are their clothes?!

  • Christina says:

    You people who are saying this is cruel is exactly whats wrong with our world today; people breeding more people to be bratty, privileged, reliant adults that think the world owes them everything. Crying, not getting your way is a part of life. Give me a frickin break. I am sure you wackos are breeding kids in a bubble that cant handle anything not going their way.

  • eleonora says:

    “They are kids, they will have forgotten in 5 mins.”
    I hope you are joking!
    these pics are terrible.
    the concept behind it’s terrible.
    and the fact that somebody like
    them it’s horrible. As a woman I m offended from them.
    I will never let my kid suffer also for just for 1 minute for a stupid picture.
    All the people who think that this is not a big deal should STOP and think about it a little better!!!

  • Jo says:

    Nothing wrong with some tears. Kids cry over all kinds of things. You take them to get their photo taken with Santa and they begin crying. Should parents be punished for taking their kids to see Santa every year, even though the parents are aware that their child might cry? Parents are so fearful of seeing their children cry. They do everything they can to prevent it and that is what is wrong with parenting today.

  • k grimes says:

    kids might forget some things in five minutes,but they dont usually forget being treated unjustly and being bullied. the photographer is a damaged person to cause intentional hurt. yes children do cry ,and can and should not be protected from everything,but hdaving adults that they trust intentionally bulying them is not the same as crying because mama said you cant have a dangerous item to play with.these kids have ben crying for s long time,their faces are red,eyes are red,drool and all. someone needs to terrorize this woman until she cries and screams and take pictures of her .

  • Douglas P. says:

    Funny pictures, show one of sides of the humor, but obviously it’s painful to see.
    “It’s a work of two extremes”.
    Great work.

  • Prissi says:

    As a photographer, I think this is absolutely adorable! Why is it ok for us to work our butts off to get children to smile but not catch them crying? I’m sure no one would have a problem with photos of them laughing or making silly faces. Disappointment is a part of life and as young as these kids are, they forgot as soon as they had he candy back in their hands. Furthermore, for the sick people questioning why they don’t have shirts on,I ask you this…. Have you ever given a toddler candy? They get it everywhere! And finally, why are so many people so worried about the photo shoot these children’s parents paid for? It’s their money and their kid(s) and therefore, their right to do what they want. Worry about your own children!

    • Juliana says:

      Catching kids crying is different than deliberately causing them pain/disappointment to make them cry. Would this be ok to do to adults? Candy wouldn’t work in that case, but what if we had a boss call and say you were hired, but then call back and say no, we didn’t like you after all. And then took their picture. Would that be funny and ok? I dont think so, but maybe some people think those kinds of jokes are funny too:-(

    • Megan says:

      “It’s their money and their kids, therefore, their right to do what they want.”

      Yes, because kids are property. Please don’t ever have children.

  • Blumensh9 says:

    I actually like the pictures. Though I may not like the way of getting them. I have taken pictures and videos to capture my DD crying. Would there be so many negative reviews if these children were crying in happiness (like if they were all getting photographed after being told they were going to Disney land?)Reason I ask is we see videos of kids crying and they are okay, but a still photograph is wrong. Also the part with them being topless being bad or wrong kind of throws me for a loop, whose to say this is the ONLY picture that was taken and that maybe the shirts were removed to keep the candy from getting on them. I take plenty of pictures of DD topless (she is 15 months old and eats with out a shirt on)there is nothing sexual about it. Not to mention nudity is considered art when the subject is an adult or newborn, but not when the subject is 6 months-18 years? I don’t get it. Yeah there are pervs out there, but not everything has to be considered dirty.

  • wandererkm says:

    This is horrible though I am not a supporter of giving children Candy at such a young age to do this is appalling. The feelings of the children at the time of the photographs were true feelings of pain and grief. No doubt the photographer is talented by the photographs as the evict terrible pain in viewing them… but I think it’s a shame the parents allowed this to happen… shame a real shame

  • marco says:

    people who appreciate this are really, seriously poor insane. All of this poor children are under a very strong piercing pain. It is plain evident. What is happening beneath their chest? Who is the photographer? He/She must be explain in front of a court.

  • marco says:

    people who appreciate this are really, seriously poor insane. All of this poor children are under a very strong piercing pain. It is plain evident. What is happening beneath their chest, what about a hand, a feet? Where are the parents? Who is the photographer? He/She must explain this, possibly, in front of a court. (post it, please).

  • AK says:

    For me it boils down to respect, we should respect all people – mostly children – who are worthy of it and who have the least resources, the least coping skills. How about we inflict pain on all of you supporting these photos so everyone can see “art” at YOUR expense. Children are the most devalued members of our society and this just reaffirms that. Its one thing to take a picture of a crying child (not sure why you would want to), it another thing to evoke that pain, take a picture of it, and call it “art”. This is not about coddling our children, its about treating them with dignity and respect. We would NEVER treat adults this way!!

  • jackie says:

    I have 4 children of my own. I would never do that to them it is crule they don’t understand. However my biggest issue is how in the hell are these parents so stupid. Your publically posting your kids pic for all to see. I mean everyone can see, the perverts and sickos. Do you guys not realize most of these kids nipples are showing especcially the last little girl. If you ask me its sick and your letting anyone sccess these photos. Have some respect for your children.

  • Amy says:

    Artificially induced crying in a child?

    This is because children are the most oppressed group on the planet. It is only because adults have power over children that this is allowed.

  • Pussycat says:

    Well anyone that does not see anything wrong with this has THE PROBLEM, where most parents like to see their children happy, smiling , feeling safe secure and HAPPY… what would make a parent want photos of their children crying and miserable, I find it nasty and cruel anyone would purposely do this… and photographers who would willing do this “to get raw emotions” and other pathetic excuses.. well if you want photos like this.. let someone do cruel things to you and take your photos. And this comment really takes the cake “It’s their money and their kid(s) and therefore, their right to do what they want.” No way in hell I would let anyone do this to mine. I find the whole thing sick and disturbing.

  • Laura Hill says:

    I’ve never seen so many idiots on one web page, photographer included. Where is the moral compass?. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Idiots. All of you.

    • Devovit says:

      Oh indeed. Somebody call child services and let them know that a toddler wasn’t allowed to eat a lollipop for two minutes. This is literally worse than the Holocaust.

  • Goodheart says:

    Whats adorable about causing emotional duress? Emotional abuse is the hardest abuse to pinpoint and convict… Oh, look, here it is captured in the light of a photographer all over the internet…. The saddened faces of children who’s rights are supposedly being protected and guarded jealously by the ones that love them…. They may not forget this photoshoot, he’ll, it may be the only thing they remember! Is that what you would want for your child is for him or her to remember what a sadistic manipulator you were and then having all your privacy rights being signed over to this photographer that is proud to be able to make children cry. Wow, I’m not surprised, people do disgusting things everyday…. But it takes a lot more to be able to make them laugh and smile. Recently a ten year old girl died of suffocation because the family liked to put her in a foot locker for punishment, … They enjoyed to see her suffer like this photographer enjoys it…. And recently a serial killer on death row died and he had sick demented fans that sent him money although he killed 37 people…. Where’s the morality ?? Jesus. I see the resemblance of the photographer in the abusive family and a resemblance to the photographers supporters in the serial killers fans, liking acts that obviously “hurt” another being…

  • Goodheart says:

    Let me take something of yours away, your husband,… Your parent,… Whatever is valuable or means all the world to you and also take the the clothes off your back and then video your reaction to be posted on you tube as art…. Then, maybe you’d see the child’s perspective.

  • Anon says:

    Babies and toddlers cry. Constantly. Maybe these pictures can act as birth control and make people think twice about giving birth to annoying crying machines.

  • JustLoveEm says:

    call the cops… cruel and exploitative… for the sake of *sigh* ‘beautiful art’??? gross. you want to capture true, raw emotions in children? pack your bags and go to Oklahoma… contact the state department or the pentagon and get permission for a ride-along in Afghanistan… don’t be such a freakin’ coward

  • Shazy says:

    I think the woman did a great job with the pictures and I see nothing wrong with them. Kids cry all the time over random things. I am willing to bet they were given back their candy once the pictures were taken! If you don’t like them I say just look the other way and visit another site. There are so many things going on world wide.. let’s not be hung up on someone’s photography! I love it though!

  • Tiffany says:

    Photography is about capturing all the moments. It doesn’t matter if there are “more beautiful” moments that she could have captured. This is not child abuse, it’s being real and teaching a good lesson. You know how many kids nowadays think they’re entitled to get candy whenever they want? We are no better than the children though. We think we’re entitled to have a certain type of life. This hits us hard, because we see children as innocent and vulnerable. I believe if this was a photo series of adults crying, it would not have blowed up so much. I think we can all learn from these pictures, because they are raw, and real, and a reflection of ourselves.

  • Melissa says:

    It all comes down to respect. It is uncommon in our society to have any respect at all for children and most especially toddlers. Very young people have “meltdowns” because they are made to live in very stressful environments by adults who do not understand, empathise with, or respect young people. They live in a world where they are unable to communicate and their preferences are of no consequence. Once a human becomes self aware (about 18 months, I think)the lack of consideration for their comforts, curiosities, and desires is extremely frustrating and they have not yet developed coping techniques for this reality. What we see in these photos are young people who are made to feel very alone and misunderstood, who don’t know anyway to advocate for themselves. All they can do is break down.

    I have 3 children, all past the toddler stage and all were provided a respectful environment where the older humans worked to overcome the language barriers that kept the younger humans from having a voice and therefore some autonomy and control over their lives and experiences. I would not subject my child to something like this and do not see it as a valuable lesson at all. The valuable lessons come from real life, real loss, and real situations. They do not come from fabricated events for the purpose of exploitation while the young person watches their own caretaker subject them to humiliation, bullying, and senseless loss.

  • Ron Gilispie says:

    I think the overall effect is kind of dark and creepy…but then the photoshop thing adds to that. My kids wouldn’t have reacted so much, but all kids are different. What we don’t know is how many kids she shot to get the number of images she finally published….she may have shot 500 kids, for all we know.

    The closest I ever got to such a reaction was when my oldest son dropped his Mickey Mouse ice cream on the sidewalk on a miserably hot Dallas day….but he not only knew there wouldn’t be another one that day because the ice cream truck had already left, but he had to look at the ruined one melting on the ground and already drawing ants…this leads me to speculate that there may have been more to the story than simply taking the candy away.

    Once again, all kids are different and the photographer may have become frustrated and kicked the last dozen or so kids in the butt when she took the candy away for the reaction.

  • robin says:

    This really pisses me off!! What kind of parent would let someone abuse their child like this? What the heck is wrong with people these days!! :(

    • Devovit says:

      “Abuse.”

      Fucking hell. If you seriously think having a lollipop being taken away for two minutes constitutes child abuse, I pray that you never actually google the term and have your eyes opened.

      Also, if you think that toddler’s crying must be avoided at all costs, please never ever reproduce. You’d probably end up having your baby’s first teeth surgically removed so that it never has to go through teething.

  • Ty says:

    I despise this photo shoot. I would never approve of my child doing this. Children do not process things the way that jaded adults do… To take the candy away AND sit there WAITING for the huge meltdown of that child appears, is really cruel and hurtful. They do not understand “Now kids, we’re going to show you how loss in life affects you on an emotional level”; what those kids are seeing is a stranger, who under the supervision and approval of their parents, were offered candy… Then they dealt with this newly trusted stranger, and their approving parents completely tricking them and disappointing them. It’s just opening up your child up to unnecessary hurt and trust issues. No bueno.

  • Shel says:

    This is not that cruel. Children can be spoiled brats! I realize that kids like candy, but the truth is that not all children have access to candy, and the ones who do probably shouldn’t be eating it in excess! My grandma once gave tootsie pops or lollipops to children in India . . . they looked at her like she was crazy. The poor kids didn’t even know what the candy was or what they were supposed to do with it. They wouldn’t have cried if she’d taken it away from them. Of course once they tried it, they realized how delicious it was, but for them, it was a rare treat. Not a guaranteed snack like it is for a lot of kids in developed countries. Have you all seen this: http://reasonsmysoniscrying.tumblr.com??? It’s a fantastic blog that is run by a dad who documents all of the STUPID reasons why his son is crying. The reasons are ridiculous. And he takes photos and captions them to emphasize how wacko his toddler’s emotions are. I realize that sometimes adults make difficult environments for their children, but sometimes children are pretty damn difficult themselves. Crying because a photographer took their candy away is going to be among the ten things that these children cried about that day.

  • Jay says:

    Who’s sicker? A photographer who takes pictures of naked children in distress or those who consume her product. I’m just not sure.

    • Heather says:

      The beauty is… You’re consuming it. You’re moved to emotion by her photos. You’re talking about it. You are experiencing it. Welcome to art! Hate it or love it, you’re consuming her work.

      Any news is good news. Any discussion is good discussion.

  • Cathy says:

    It’s one thing to photograph a crying child, but to purposefully make them cry just to photograph them is not right.

  • Suzanne says:

    What a cruel, perverted thing to do. Parents should have their asses kicked too. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing someone cry. No one would try to make an adult cry, but oh what fun when it is a helpless baby. Oh, I am so big and tough, I bet I can make you cry. Like taking candy from a baby. Something no one should do. You sickos!

    • Sara Sue says:

      Suzanne I understand your feelings, but remember that the childrens’ guardians must have consented to this, meaning they did not see it as something truly damaging. Maybe you’d get some perspective if you were a parent, kids aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. They cry over dumber things than candy!

      • MaryDawn says:

        I am a parent of 3 and COMPLETELY agree with Suzanne. Maybe more because I see all that this world is going to make them go through. My kids are not spoiled by a long shot and hear “no” many, many times a day.But to build someone up for the sheer purpose of tearing them back down is just wrong. Adult or child…it is wrong and sad.

    • Devovit says:

      If you never want to see a baby cry then your kids are going to end up weighing 400lbs before they reach puberty, because you’ll give in to every single tantrum in the grocery store.

  • Leonardas says:

    Epic fail. Cruel idiot makes kids cry and tries to be famous on this. Photographic aspect is also totaly flawed – wrong light, ugly – I mean really UGLY – postprocessing. Man, You should find a different job.

  • Sara Sue says:

    Someone sent me a link to this page calling it child porn. Personally I think anyone who thinks sex when they see a shirtless toddler is a pedo anyway, though to be fair is there anything really wrong with that as long as they don’t act on it?

    Anyway, the pics are well done IMO. But I’ve never been a fan of “nasty close-up” art that seeks to reveal the grotesqueries of things, or suffering in general. How about some pictures from after she gave the candy back, lol.

  • Hahaha says:

    All I see is a bunch of commenters that all look like the pictures above. Crying like babies over something trivial and insignificant. The artist did a good job bringing to light people like you who freak out over little things. These children eventually got the candy, you know that right? Kids cry like this ALL THE TIME. They aren’t experiencing heavy turmoil or grief. It’s CANDY. Candy. Why are you freaks comparing that to losing a loved one, a huge sum of money, your house, etc? They aren’t comparable. Again, the kids got the candy afterwards, and if you are unable to refuse a crying child or deal with one that cries, you should not have children…they’ll grow up spoiled, stupid, or both.

    Grow up. This isn’t a big deal, and I feel bad for all of you that are making it one. Quit being crybabies.

  • Rebecca says:

    Children live in the moment… When adults start to realize that they are the same species as us, then that will be an amazing day. This is a cruel experiment. Seriously hoping the photographer doesn’t have children.

  • Daniel says:

    Beat the photographer, and photograph the reaction…

  • MaryDawn says:

    Yes, children cry over little things and lose things every day. No, life will not always go their way and sometimes people are just jerks and take your candy. I pray though, that even as I have to let my children experience some of those hard things, that what they receive from me is empathy and love; a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, a mommy to hug. Not some prick putting a camera in their face and treating them like an animal for entertainment as I stand by and let them fall apart, confused and hurt. THAT is my issue with this shoot. It was purposefully inflicting pain. Yes, it is just candy, but to anybody who has raised kids, there is no reasoning. There is no explaining it is okay and it is just a piece of candy. The tiniest things can just be emotionally shattering for them. It is my job to protect them from PURPOSEFUL harm for as long as I can, they will get enough of it when they are old enough to venture onto the playground alone. They don’t need it from me or any body else for entertainment sake. This is just sad.

  • Cakes says:

    To assume that these children had to be crying for hours to get such intense shots is such flawed logic. I’ve witnessed a child go from smiling to bloodshot eyes, runny nose and drool running down to their knees in a matter of 15 seconds. It’s called emotion, and that’s what the photographer was trying to capture: pure, raw, intangible emotion. One of the greatest messages in life is that tears don’t last. One minute a baby can be crying, the next minute they can smile. Anyone who thinks this is cruel probably also gives their children everything they want because they can’t handle a tear or two due to disappointment. Good luck raising little prima donnas who will expect to have everything they desired given to them when they want it… we’ll all see how they manage to influence society in a positive manner in our future. LIke c’mon people… this is ART. These children weren’t harmed. They’ve cried over worse, and one day they will have to learn how to temporarily cope with loss. Can’t we all stop being over-analytical robots for one second and just enjoy a moment as human as crying? This is art in its purest form. ENJOY IT. stop dissecting it and just let it be. If you don’t like it, why give it energy by commenting? Just ignore it. Allow those of us who are actually capable of enjoying are do so in peace.. all the static just takes away from the real point here, and that’s that the photographer set a goal and met it. Fantastic work.

  • Haggie says:

    I think this would be much more impactful if the viewer didn’t know immediately what was upsetting this children because they look truly upset and then AFTER viewing found out it was over candy.

  • Waylon Bryson says:

    I am appalled at how many commenters are bleating on about “empathy” for the children while also engaging in brutalizing fantasies about the photographer. I imagine that most of them are nice folk. The sort that leave generous tips whenever their friends are around.

  • Sam Longoria says:

    At least these were easy to do.

  • Deb Pias says:

    I once did a similar set of pieces, only I envoked these feelings not by taking away candy from children. Instead I gave them Good n’ Plentys.

    Because let’s be honest: the disappointment felt by receiving Good n’ Plentys can be compared to receiving nickels or tooth brushes on Halloween.

  • Bill Watts says:

    There’s more crying in these comments than was involved in the 30 seconds or so each that these children were being deprived of candy. They got the candy back, end of crisis. You crysacks have PROBABLY spent more time pissing and moaning about pictures of uninjured crying children than you have actually spent helping children who are actually being injured by war or famine. Shame on you.

  • ANgelina says:

    My concern is this: if they r crying this hard over simply giving and taking away candy, they r all showing signs of true addiction. If a child is not addicted, their reactions would not be so strong. The fact that they lack emotional resilience to a simple event is the real issue here. Either these parents waited until they were over tired, have no bondaries in their home and these children get everything they want all day long, or again, they r in active addiction… I don’t think that is ethical art. It’s like giving a heroin addict a full needle and then taking it away and snapping the shot. Is it interesting? Yes. Is it ethical? No.

  • Nici says:

    I’m not ok with ever making anyone uncomfortable for my own personal fame/profit/whatever. Candy is obviously no big deal and I doubt these kids will be scarred for life, but those horrified and hurt faces ARE real and are a big deal. It also is totally disrespectful to the kids. I always take the approach that children are people/equals to adults and I really feel these children have been taken advantage of and their trust has been altered. It’s a shame that this can be considered “art”.

  • dina alexander says:

    This is so sad. The person who took these photos should be charged with child abuse. Who would take their child to a photographer that would traumatize their child.
    THIS IS ABUSIVE!!! If anyone knows how to stop this & get these photos off the internet please do so…. These photos are totally exploiting these innocent children.

  • Debbie says:

    Not just to say its not nice, isn’t this child porn too? Damn

  • chris doyle says:

    Well, no one actually got hurt, These kids are obviously made of plastic!

    WHAT!? Thats just really over the top photoshop work! OMG

  • James says:

    This series is incredible. Great work!

  • Daenerys says:

    Probably many comments passed me with the same thoughts but I want to tell my opinion.

    I can’t understand what is the challenge for making children cry than put them in a studio and take some photos? That is what I call autotelic „art”. But okay let’s give some details:
    1. Message: touch up with your children just for a photo what is forgettable but he/she will notice that (you don’t know how long). The child learn nothing but what? That he/she got something good (it doesn’t mater that it is candy or anything else – it depends on the parents what they take to them children, it is the responsibility of them), than taken that away, he/she starts to cry and there is nobody to set him/she ease but they takes the photos? Where do the parents take them mind during this time?
    2. Quality: someone has got money for good photo machine, studio, anything…
    3. Catch the moment: well, children are not just smiling sometimes they crying too. You can see many pictures about crying children. But generally they has got normal reason for crying and normal parents recomfort them children. And even you can explain for your children what happens, why do they cry, is it worth while, is it a real trouble? In this case (take photo after take away candy) what can you say to them? So I can’t say these photos are about cath the moment.
    4. Perpetuation: normal persons do not like to see them child crying. Not their own not anybody’s. Normal persons won’t put these pictures on them wall. You don’t have to be a psycologist to know that children are very breakable in these ages.

    Well I wish to see the photographer’s face got her camera after taken that away…

  • Erling Sivertsen says:

    it should not be a goal to trigger of crying to pursue an aesthetics goal, there are more than enough children crying around the globe to photograph with the intention to make a change and stop the crying. However, thanks for the opportunity letting be forward this reflection on the art of getting attention today

  • Jean says:

    You claim you achieved this reation by taking away the childrens sweets but how do we know that is true. I would advise you to think more clearly in the pursuit of your art.

  • Anne says:

    Capturing emotion (joy or sadness alike) is beautiful. Provoking reaction to take a picture is pathetic.

  • Io says:

    I think the photographer will get majorly bad karma. So will the parents who paticipated.

  • Hillary says:

    It amazes me how stupid you all are. And by the way this is SOOOOOOOO old! Like 5 years. And for those of you that think it’s porn to have a kid with their shirt off…you have some issues.

  • yourefired says:

    I spent 30 minutes writing a thoughtful response to a comment here. Thankfully I saved what I wrote. I wasn’t trolling, and was expressing my sincere thoughts and feelings.

    This was my first visit to fullym, and I am sorely disappointed with your notion of ‘moderation’. I waited until what I thought would be the approval of my comment…at which point I planned on closing the tab. However, when I refreshed, my comment was no longer there, even with the pending approval message.

    I understand, dear moderator, that you feel cozy in your job. Maybe there is some form of primitive rush, or power trip that you experience. Whatever.

    The thing is, hardly anyone knows who the heck fullym is. Eliminating legitimate discussion from your comments is only going to keep fullym (and by proxy, snapsort) on the edges, until it fades into the woodwork with pets.com and friendster.

    Well, I do happen to have a few mutual friends with Alex, and I will make sure that he knows that this is happening.

    Have fun deleting comments that you disagree with, while you’re still gainfully employed.

    • Chance Nguyen Chance Nguyen says:

      Hi “yourefired”… or “Fractle” your comment was not deleted, we have a human moderation process, unfortunately you are very correct in that hardly anyone knows who the heck fullyM is and we’re not use to this sort of viral traffic.

      As you can tell we’re very laxed with what comments we approve only denying those who really intentionally trolling and single world profanities. I’ve sent you a personal email apologizing and explaining this.

      I hope this comment clarifies this further (I really like my job here, and I hope I can keep it) and contrary to your comment I hope you choose to come back to fullyM in the future. We’d love to hear what you have to say :)

      Chance Nguyen
      FullyM Editor-in-Chief

  • ZenithStorm says:

    Though I believe suffering is a part of life, and that suffering may not be inherently evil… I think this is… heart-wrenching.

    Even for the noble purpose of research to improve the lives of people, *psychology* experiments (today) have heavy heavy restrictions on what kind of studies they can run–they can’t even take harmless pictures of people in public without getting written consent.

    Here, you caused suffering for what? For the “beauty” of suffering?

    *shrug* This photo-shoot was immoral in my opinion.

  • xx says:

    Explain, please, why none of them are wearing shirts.

  • Nick Petten says:

    Have the children given their assent (or consent) to take these pictures in a state of anxiety? If not, then this photo series represents an act of exploitation of children by adults.

    I have already heard of other photographers wanting to do a similar photo series and I worry about the children that will be used. Please do not replicate.

    The sooner this website removes the pictures, the better. Keep the interesting discussion though.

  • GI says:

    To all of you talking about “taking away” the candy… Good grief, can you people even read?! It says clearly that NO ONE TOOK AWAY THE CANDY. THE KIDS’ MOMS ***ASKED*** THE KIDS TO GIVE IT BACK. Some of the kids gave it back and just sat there; some cried.

    Kids this age have have crying fits for any — or no — reason all the time. Two minutes after it’s over, it’s forgotten. No one was permanently traumatised over this. Well, except maybe those of you who put more time into these “child abuse” posts than the kids did crying.

  • Mhairi Galloway says:

    Hey….what about the blonde kid with the earring? I bet SHE cried in agonizing pain when her mother or father had it done to her. I bet SHE did not ask to have a bolt fired into her tiny earlobe. Tsk. I’m sure THAT experience evoked REAL pain and suffering on her cherub like face, not candy being denied!

  • Walter Mir says:

    Independientemente de que los niños se hayan estresado o no. O de que por naturaleza, los niños lloran a cierta edad más que envninguna otra, el trabajo artístico en sí, no transmite nada, es pobre estéticamente, y no tiene nada de novedoso. No es un lugar nuevo a dónde mirar, sino algo tan doméstico, que aburre inmediatamente… This is a pour art, there is no stetic, theres no beauty…