Greenberg grew up in Chicago and became very interested in marine life through the Shedd Aquarium and the marine life exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History. His early photography and sketches were done at these science attractions. National Geographic Magazine also provided him with knowledge, motivation and many ideas. Fortunately, his parents had a winter residence on Miami Beach. As a teenager, he began spearfishing along the jetties.
He learned how to scuba dive in 1951 and opened the world of underwater photography to him. Using his Leica with a 28mm lens in his own underwater housing, he was able to capture remarkable photos. In 1953 Greenberg began collaborating with Jordan Klein in designing and manufacturing underwater camera housings. Greenberg formed his own publishing company in 1956, and the company concentrates on underwater field guides and diving books.
Greenberg had become an expert in underwater flash photography. He was featured in the June 1960 issue of GE Photoflashes in an article titled “20,000 Flashbulbs Beneath The Sea.” In January 1962, Greenberg realized a ten-year dream with his first ull length cover story for National Geographic on Pennekamp Park. By this time, Greenberg had earned an international reputation, which produced many assignments with photo agencies, advertising firms, the U.S. Navy and many prestigious magazines around the world. By the early 1990s Greenberg recognised that Florida’s corals were in serious danger from pollution. He began documenting the destruction of the coral reefs through his underwater photography. Greenberg teamed with Fred Ward for an article, “The Coral Reefs of Florida Are Imperiled,” in the July 1990 National Geographic Magazine. In 1985 Greenberg began his infatuation with the mangrove areas of the Florida Keys. He has shot thousands of rolls of film to capture the amazing beauty and mystery of life in the mangroves and the estuaries that border them. Flat tunicates, upside-down jellyfish, baby barracuda, anemones, sponges, worms and crabs are captured in Jerry and Michael Greenberg’s photographs. They appear in the book, Mangroves: Trees in the Sea. The text was written by Idaz and her daughter, Mimi Young. The book was published in 2000.