Controversy has always surrounded children in photographs, especially when they are presented in unconventional ways. In the early 1990s, Sally Mann received immense amounts of criticism for her intimate portraits of her children when she released her series Immediate Family. Over a decade later, and in what one would think is a more accepting world, Jill Greenberg's series of crying children called End Times sparked an enormous amount of controversy after its debut in 2006. People were so outraged that Greenberg received frequent threats, but nonetheless the series rocketed into the public eye. When adults, especially parents, see these images of distressed children they often stir up a visceral response of outrage, but that is not the only controversial element at play. Greenberg created the work as a portal for her political views and her feelings of the world's current diminishing state. She was inspired by an essay titled There is no Tomorrow by Billy Moyers in which he remarks about pictures of children on his desk, "We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world." Greenberg relates to this view, in her artist statement talking about how she felt selfish bringing her own children, who are featured in the book, into the world in its current "screwed-up" condition.
End Times features 32 photographs originally taken in 2005, and done in Greenberg's signature style. Dispersed among the images are newspaper clippings with tragic headlines such as "Waves of Death: Tsunami hit with- out warning" and "Terror in London: Four blasts hit transit system, killing dozens." The book opens with several essays about Greenberg's work that prepare the viewer to look beyond the captivating and controversial images of the children crying, and to see the meaning behind the images and the artist's purpose. The book ends with an artist statement and explanation of the work by the artist. She speaks to how it was created and some of the tactics she used to get the children's responses, often being nothing more than an irritated child being photo- graphed. The photographs of children depict them in a state of pure emotion, a powerful emotion that Greenberg feels adults have completely suppressed in themselves. These children are our future, but we have systematically destroyed the world they are growing up in, and remain numb and unaffected by it. (Matthew Beniamino The Photo Review 2015-02-01)