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Portraits of Apes and Monkeys
September 17, 2007 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Incredibly expressive portraits of apes and monkeys by photographer Jill Greenberg whose pictures of crying babies raised heckles last year.
posted by Kattullus (71 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Consider this heckle raised: LERN 2 SPEL!!!
posted by DU at 9:04 AM on September 17, 2007


Because no one cares if you make a monkey cry?
posted by tommasz at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2007


STOP HACKLING THE POSTER.
posted by quonsar at 9:08 AM on September 17, 2007


Heh, that's hot :)
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:09 AM on September 17, 2007


I don't know much about art but I know what I like, and I'd hang these in my rumpus room.
posted by mazola at 9:16 AM on September 17, 2007


Well, I guess that's what I get for making a dumb pun. My punishment, if you will.

Ow! Ow! Stop hitting me! I couldn't resist, I'm sorry! Stop hitting me! Ow!
posted by Kattullus at 9:17 AM on September 17, 2007


The cloying titles diminish quite a few of these.
posted by docpops at 9:17 AM on September 17, 2007


If only they were playing poker . . .
posted by yhbc at 9:19 AM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Agree about the cloying titles: one step away from "Hang in there, baby" poster.
posted by adgnyc at 9:19 AM on September 17, 2007


Herman Munster!
posted by katillathehun at 9:19 AM on September 17, 2007


lolmonkeys
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:24 AM on September 17, 2007


I hate her earlier work not because I think it's bad. It's just that I have to put up with my own images of this every night when I get off of work and I'm just trying to get some fucking sleep!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:28 AM on September 17, 2007


Dear Jill Greenberg,

Put the fucking airbrush down!
posted by shmegegge at 9:31 AM on September 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


I want an orangutan. He or she could come to work with me and liven up the meetings by making farting noises at inappropriate times.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:32 AM on September 17, 2007


Okay ... What exactly is the media? Photography? They look like a cross between pastels and airbrushing.
posted by RavinDave at 9:33 AM on September 17, 2007


O face
posted by voltairemodern at 9:34 AM on September 17, 2007


Put the fucking airbrush down!

Think so? Where? I'd think if she was going to go there she'd fudge the eye reflections that give away her lighting techniques. Looks like her dominant source is the ring flash, which gives a flattened doll-like look.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:36 AM on September 17, 2007


These are lovely. Of course the first instinct is to say, they're so much like is, but maybe that's not the point. I suspect - perhaps like all photography, but especially here - they're saying at least as much about the viewer as they are about the monkeys.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:40 AM on September 17, 2007


Yeah, with all the post-processing she's doing on these, I was seriously wondering if some of the images were computer-generated.

Most aren't offensive to my untrained eye, but if even I can see that some are way overdone, my presumption is that most of them probably are.
posted by Malor at 9:44 AM on September 17, 2007


I was watching Unforgiven last week and I was really enjoying it (as I have every time I've seen it). I was really getting into the mood, Eastwood is so empty in that film, just a bundle of manners and intentions and the worst kind of masculine loyalty (I love you enough to avenge you, but not enough not to get you killed), a real pitch black Film Noir character (also as a meditation on alcoholism, the way a person can use booze to alter not just their personality, but their conscience and abilities, with the full knowledge that they are doing that).

The ending especially, where he goes on the killing spree in the bar, really got to me - just bleak, bleak, bleak- and then a switch flipped in my brain and I wished that the movie would be remade so that he could have an orangutan sidekick.

That would have been amazing.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:45 AM on September 17, 2007 [15 favorites]


Everyone should be glad we don't have IMG here anymore. Otherwise I would be using this in response to about, oh, a third of all posts.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:47 AM on September 17, 2007


I love you Divine_Wino.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:51 AM on September 17, 2007


They are extraordinary portraits. Incredible, silky, touchable detail. Amazing range of emotions and expressions. The glamour shot aspect adds a strange, fascinating dimension.
posted by nickyskye at 9:53 AM on September 17, 2007


I couldn't resist.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:55 AM on September 17, 2007


There may be some post being done to these images but for the most part they look the way they do because of the lighting.
posted by photoslob at 9:57 AM on September 17, 2007


and then a switch flipped in my brain and I wished that the movie would be remade so that he could have an orangutan sidekick.

I'd go see that, especially for the part where he euthanizes the orangutan!
posted by Pollomacho at 10:02 AM on September 17, 2007


Yeah ... I saw "Unforgiven" last week too. It was right after "The Bobby Flay Story" starring Paul Reiser. Or was it "The Paul Reiser Story" starring Bobby Flay? Now, back to our thread:
posted by RavinDave at 10:02 AM on September 17, 2007


I've got the book of portraits these were taken from. It's treasured. I hold it every day and thank God I live in a world with monkeys.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:04 AM on September 17, 2007


Cool, she managed to leech most of the life outta her subjects, just like most glamour photography.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:06 AM on September 17, 2007


This one reminds me, rather strongly, of a Far Side cartoon.

They do look pretty processed, but I'm no expert...maybe it is just lighting?
posted by Richat at 10:07 AM on September 17, 2007


I'm pretty sure the chimp is 'cheetah'.
posted by MikeHoegeman at 10:10 AM on September 17, 2007


I agree that they don't look very Photoshopped to me; studio lighting will create a lot of these effects. I guess it's a product of the digital age that we think everything that doesn't look natural has to be manipulated after the fact ... photographers have been manipulating during photo shoots for centuries!

I like these shots, despite having a nightmare about a zoo last night.
posted by Sterling Hoyt at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2007


DO NOT BE FOOLED, PEOPLE.

They look harmless, oh yes, but they are all plotting to attack. That's what monkeys do. MARK MY WORDS.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:12 AM on September 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


I swear I know someone who looks exactly like this. Whatever post-work she's doing, I kinda like the result.

But no one is gonna tell me the tears on this one weren't excentuated.
posted by RavinDave at 10:21 AM on September 17, 2007


miss lynmster, why do you have to spoil things for our simian overlords? Really.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:22 AM on September 17, 2007


lynnster. Dangit.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:22 AM on September 17, 2007


The...New Republic?
posted by kittyprecious at 10:24 AM on September 17, 2007


Okay, monkeys and apes are cool, but at some point I could no longer ignore the dumb anthropomorphic titles. Check Please. Oy Vey. Barfly.
Ugh. That definitely increased the cheesiness quotient. I bet the photographer has pictures of kittens wearing sunglasses in her hallway and babies sitting on chamberpots in her bathroom.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:28 AM on September 17, 2007


My vote's for Tim Flach, who got there first and did it better (IMHO).
posted by MuffinMan at 10:35 AM on September 17, 2007


And mine is for Frank Noelker, who takes photos (not so post-processed) of chimps in captivity. The expressions he captures are pretty evocative.
posted by rmless at 10:40 AM on September 17, 2007


The abandoned monkey who has found love with a pigeon
posted by Soliloquy at 10:45 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


What the monkey was REALLY thinking.
posted by RavinDave at 10:49 AM on September 17, 2007


I hate the way they look. They're right up there with the "LOL I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY MANAGE HDR" photos you see on flickr.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:51 AM on September 17, 2007


I'll add another vote for the lighting, rather than the post-work. These actually seem, to my eye, to be significantly less processed-looking than the baby set - that set was painful to look at.

This one in particular lends itself towards reverse-engineering her lighting techniques - one softbox to either side, one above, and then a ringflash head-on. On many of them there's a light behind the subject as well.

Overall, they don't bother me too much. I think the set could stand some editing, though - there's a lot of them, and all at once it reads as overdone. I think there'd be more impact with the best 5 or 6 images.
posted by god hates math at 11:04 AM on September 17, 2007


They're right up there with the "LOL I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY MANAGE HDR" photos you see on flickr.

You mean EVERY damn HDR photo on flickr? That's one trend I'll be happy to see die.
posted by god hates math at 11:15 AM on September 17, 2007


The uncanny valley.
posted by deborah at 11:19 AM on September 17, 2007


Dude.
posted by humannaire at 11:29 AM on September 17, 2007


I believe these are all in book form, too.
posted by mrnutty at 11:55 AM on September 17, 2007


Wait, what?

Someone's gonna have to beat me.
posted by BeerFilter at 11:58 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure where to submit my application, but I really want to make sure that when I'm reincarnated, I come back as a mandrill. Not only are they cool lookin' but then I would be able to tell everyone griping about these pictures being possibly digitally post processed to "kiss my red baboon ass". Bitch all you want, but that specific complaint reeks of amateur haterism 101. Love 'em or hate 'em, i really do think it's a stretch to fault the technique in this particular instance. If someone could point out where the artist is using an easily reproduced effect to mask a lack of basic skills, that would actually be interesting input.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:59 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Too much anthropomorphizing. Stuff like that give me the creeps. It’s just one step up from this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:03 PM on September 17, 2007


Too much anthropomorphizing. Stuff like that give me the creeps. It’s just one step up from this.

She got pictures of naked monkeys being naked monkeys. The anthropomorphizing is minimal. She titles them to suggest a human emotion that matches the face, and our brain does the rest. It's not shoving a monkey in some pants and squealing, "TEE HEE! HE'S ON A TOILET! JUST LIKE... JUST LIKE... HE'S LIKE A PEOPLE, GET IT?"

Well, I like them, anyway.
posted by katillathehun at 12:09 PM on September 17, 2007


NO WAI!!!

I guess I'll stop now. I think it broke.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2007


It's not shoving a monkey in some pants and squealing, "TEE HEE! HE'S ON A TOILET!

*makes note never to borrow katilla's pants*
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:33 PM on September 17, 2007


About the "anthropomorphic" effect:

The Sears Portrait Studio lighting is part of this -- we're not used to seeing animals photographed this way.

Also, I'm sure she took scores of photos of each subject for every one that she used.

Finally, they look kind of like people because they are kind of like people. These are our closest non-human relatives, and there's a family resemblance.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:39 PM on September 17, 2007


Which is why they want us dead.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:56 PM on September 17, 2007


How do you anthropomorphize something that is already very much like a human? Are expressions, even those easily recognisable to humans, exclusive to humans alone?

These questions, plus, Women That Love Monkeys Too Much on the next Donahue...
posted by Pollomacho at 1:09 PM on September 17, 2007


Didn't dare take away the monkey's lollipop, eh Greenberg, you wimp?
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:30 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rule 34, Pollomacho. It's how HIV got into the human population, right?
posted by bonehead at 3:08 PM on September 17, 2007


Soliloquy, I love that little monkey holding the pigeon picture. Seriously awww.


Love the mischievous LOLMONKEEZ
posted by nickyskye at 3:14 PM on September 17, 2007


She was in my photography class in high school - and goes on to be a noted, albeit semi-controversial photographer. And here I sit, too lazy even to charge the batteries in my digital camera.
posted by pinky at 4:49 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


beerfilter, i want to have your freaky simian baby.
posted by CitizenD at 5:03 PM on September 17, 2007


somebody give that ape a cigarette. and a hat.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 5:36 PM on September 17, 2007


Artifice_Eternity writes "The Sears Portrait Studio lighting is part of this -- we're not used to seeing animals photographed this way. "

Well, eh, not monkeys anyway. People do this to their pets all the time.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:28 PM on September 17, 2007


One more for CitizenD: U eated?
posted by BeerFilter at 7:34 PM on September 17, 2007


WAI!!!
posted by humannaire at 7:59 PM on September 17, 2007


I see what you did there.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:19 PM on September 17, 2007


Drop shadows...
posted by BeerFilter at 8:29 PM on September 17, 2007


The mandrill scares the shit out of me, but at the same time, I wonder if, if I took off all my clothes and lay down on the ground, we'd be able to cuddle?

Is there any chance at all that he wouldn't rend me and use my skin as a blanket. There must be some reason he's so scary looking, but maybe it's an act?
posted by The Monkey at 4:22 AM on September 18, 2007


IT'S NO ACT. Why don't you people listen? He wants to eat your brain.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:55 AM on September 18, 2007


It's brain-eatin' time!
posted by humannaire at 1:10 PM on September 18, 2007


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