How to Photograph Pigs

Tally ho! But not to hunt foxes, because that is not how I roll. No, today is all about pigs. Floppy ears, bristled coats, sensitive snouts. All mine to share with you!

Pigs are difficult to photograph. Their floppy ears cast shadows across already small eyes. Humans like eyes, they like to empathize, see souls and all that jazz. Pigs are not visual creatures. They see through their nose, exploring the wafting scents the same way our eyes might scan a crowd for a friend. If you want to find a pig's soul, start at the snout. And when pigs are otherwise engaged in the fine art of eating, they have zero interest in lifting their heads for you to photograph. Grazing pigs can be quite lovely and the profile of a pig about to chomp on a 60lb pumpkin is immensely entertaining. But mostly pigs are snout to ground, searching for their next tasty morsel, portraits be damned.

I captured Patty mid-sit, an almost canine posture.

She has a grin on her face and gentle eyes. Her ears are correctly placed, allowing for proper viewing of, at the very least, one of her eyes. You can imagine the other one, it's a carbon copy of the right.

If you wake up a pig, they will sit like this and slowly, ever slowly, heave their large bodies up and begin their amble. Destination, you. Goal, belly rub.

Patty, I love. She is porcine perfection.

She ran me over after this photo. That is how she rolls.

Benjamin is busy snoring. He is too tired to lift his head, too groggy to even grunt a greeting. I would call him rude, but he is framed interestingly and wondrously pink.

He will not wake up for you, so please stop trying to be more important than beds of straw and pig-dreams.

Shhh, Susie is sleeping! Few animals sleep as beautifully as pigs, dogs maybe. They snooze in a way that makes you want to curl up next to their warm, soft bellies.

Susie is, hands down, the nicest pig. On earth, perhaps.

If you wake up Susie, you will be happy that you did.

No, Susie is not screaming. She is yawning - you have woke her up. It is imperative to yawn before getting up, clears the brain, gets you ready for the next step in your plan.

Susie yawns, a silent affair.

And then she is up. You will try to take pictures of her while she approaches, but you will fail. She will coo to you, soft greeting grunts. You will smile, grunt back and hope you're saying the right thing.

On some days, she will sniff you and move on. On most days, she will either dramatically fling herself at your feet or, as she did today, walk behind you and gently - CAREFULLY - spoon you. If you have not been spooned by a pig, you are missing out.

You will give her belly rubs, of course, and then you can lean against her tummy and observe the birds and the bees.

And then you can turn to your right and be faced with those big, floppy ears.

You can scratch behind them, or massage them, but mostly you will take pictures of them.

They are divinely beautiful - translucent bristles, pink flesh. You will never feed your dog one of these wondrously amazing appendages ever again.

And that, dear readers, is how you take pictures of pigs. Next year, when we are in Grass Valley, on 600 acres of rolling meadow, you should come see for yourself. The pigs will welcome your cameras, so longs as you scratch their bellies in return.