Jill Greenberg's controversial images of trantrums thrown by kids she had just stolen candy from would probably be considered charming rather than shocking in Guatemala, where the relative transience of infant misery is well understood. Cultural background will clearly do much to inform individual reactions to this kind of artistic exercise and an experienced commercial photographer like Greenberg must surely have been aware of the issues her own culture currently has with naked children when she conceived this set.
I also think she was being disingenuous when she claimed that “it didn’t even occur to me" that people might place a sexual interpretation on these photographs, adding that she didn't know "if it’s because they project their own desires on these images and they don’t know what to do with them and blame me.” Based on my exposure to manga artwork for instance, I think that many Japanese men would find themselves projecting desire into this one, if not indeed this one.
Given that most of these children would have been beaming again the moment the lollipop was restored to them, it's odd that Greenberg chose to capture such short-lived grief in order to represent the profounder adult sorrows occasioned by the policies of the Bush administration. Indeed, the most irritating thing about End Times is perhaps the triteness of its political payload.