Jill Greenberg. Photograph courtesy of Greenberg's studio

Who is Jill Greenberg giving her book to this Christmas?

The Animal photographer tells us her personal highs and lows of 2018 and who’ll be getting a great gift

At Phaidon.com, we tend to focus on the artists, chefs, photographers, designers and writers whose work fills a single book. However, every so often, an equally talented contributor to our themed anthologies, such as Plant, Map and Universe, turns in such a noteworthy work, we can’t help but spend a little more time talking about him or her. 

Glare by the US photographer Jill Greenberg is one such work. It is an highly charismatic portrait of a Diana Monkey, which appears in our book, Animal: Exploring the Zoological World. Perhaps it is the shocked, hazel eyes, or the tufts of white hair, but the picture certainly encourages us think that those few strands of DNA separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom are less significant than we often suppose.


Jill Greenberg, Glare, Glare, 2005, Ultrachrome ink on hot press paper, 106.7 x 127 cm / 42 x 50 in, Private collection.
Jill Greenberg, Glare, Glare, 2005, Ultrachrome ink on hot press paper, 106.7 x 127 cm / 42 x 50 in, Private collection.

Greenberg is a photographer known for her Fine Art works and portraits. She was born in Montreal, Quebec, but grew up in Detroit. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Photography. She then moved to New York to start her photography career. In 2000, Greenberg moved to Los Angeles. She's credited with creating a new photography style which is described as distinctive ethereal backlighting.

Read on to discover how, in 2018, the creator - or manipulator as she likes to call herself - drew inspiration from a wide range of sources, why she delighted in TEDx, and who she plans to give her copy of Animal to this Christmas. 

What was the thing that inspired you most this year?  I am inspired by everything. I look everywhere for inspiration: the light, my children, music, learning new things. 

What was your personal highlight? Doing a TEDx talk called The Female Lens.

What annoyed you most? I am very easily annoyed, so I have lost track. 

What can we expect from you in 2019? Hopefully, my animated short film about a gang of female vigilante who boil down their workplace oppressors into a magical potion.   

Who will you give your Phaidon book to for Xmas?  My daughter Violet, who loves animals as much as me. 


Animal: Exploring the Zoological World
Animal: Exploring the Zoological World

To see Greenberg’s Diana Monkey portrait alongside hundreds of other beautiful depictions of birds and beasts, order a copy of Animal: Exploring the Zoological World here.