Jill Greenberg • Photographer, U.S.A.

Monkey Portraits

Landscape Stories: You are famous around the world for your animal portraits which look anthropomorphized. What is the idea behind the "Monkey Portraits" series?
Jill Greenberg: I love doing portraiture in general and when I came upon the idea of shooting animals, I love how with the monkeys, their faces were so similar to humans, although they are not human. It just reminds are that we are animals too and not to take ourselves so seriously.


Landscape Stories: Has the work you have done with animals changed the way you look at the world or is it a kind of (your) vision of the world? What inspires you?
Jill Greenberg: I used to take portraits of my dog when I was a little girl. It is the way I have always looked at the world, through the humanness of animals. Just like any person, you can see into them, its just the natural way that my eye approaches life and my photography.


Landscape Stories: Animals speak to us with their eyes (... are like a mirror of its soul) and they are able to tell us how they live and what they are feeling. Their gaze reflects the world they live in, how much of it they control and how much escapes them. What do you think about this?
Jill Greenberg: A studio portrait of both humans and animals can be deceptive, in that they cause you to believe something about the subject that does not actually exist. The way in which I photograph may cause the viewer to see more than is actually there, or at least something different than what actually is.


Interview curated by Camilla Boemio