Thoughts on Pig Portraits
By Madison Wanamaker and Pot-Bellied Pig(s)

Started on: 05/06/13 22:31:16
Medium: Visual

I have begun to take portraits of Pot Bellied Pigs, and hope to photograph Cows, for a piece of art I am making about the idea of the individual. Selected portraits of the pigs were chosen from hundreds of photos, because I (the photographer) believed them to be unique. I believe in these photos that the beings I was interacting with were aware of my presence and were looking at me and my camera, consenting to my photography, and therefore collaborating with me.
I have been interested in pigs for some time and know they are exceptionally intelligent. Many sources claim pigs to be the fourth smartest animal compared to humans after Dolphins, chimpanzees, and Elephants. The Humane Society urges people to respect pigs stating, "Pigs are one of the smartest animals on Earth—brainier than dogs or three-year-old children". -( The New York Times even wrote an article saying pigs could recognize eyes in a mirror, which I believe supports my portrait idea, and reassures my feeling that they were interacting with me. However pigs, being as unique and intelligent as they are, can not be described and categorized like many other less complex animals. Pigs are known to have best friends, lovers, and extremely personalized and rigorous daily schedules. To write what pigs do or do not do as if they were all the same would be exactly like saying all 3 year olds are the same, and that you know there intelligence is all the same, and that they play the same, and they think the same. I think that even after my short visit with the pigs I felt some were interested in me or aware of me while others were not. They were all completely different, which is what my piece aims to show.
So it is obvious after any amount of research that pigs are very very intelligent and completely unique beings. So why do so many people eat them? Probably because it has become commonplace (and weirdly patriotic) to eat pig/pork/steak/bacon in America so it is not really questioned. My portrait project aims to put a face to these animals who have the intelligence of a 3 year old human child so people will not be able to ignore them and eat them.
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