When Life Gives You 300 lb. Bronze Pigs...

larry pope smithfield

Smithfield CEO Larry Pope for BusinessWeek

"This is where we always shoot the pictures."To the editorial photographer, I'm not sure there are eight words more depressing than these, as you're led to yet another conference room, with the same fluorescent lights, tired wall art and dusty, plastic tree in the corner. Typically, this is where the negotiation begins - the polite request for a tour of the office, the hope for something that might catch your eye, and the gentle suggestions that the best photo might be on the roof, or among the office park's creative landscaping, or anywhere, *anywhere* except under those buzzing lights. So when I was called by BusinessWeek to photograph the CEO of the largest pork producer in the world, and I'd just driven a long four hours through hard rain with the expectation of hearing just that phrase, it felt heaven-sent to have a kind secretary welcome me in from the rain, saying, "You can shoot wherever you want." Even better, when not 30 feet from the door sits the aforementioned pig. I ended up shooting two other setups throughout the office, but it was clear the pig won and I'll happily take another dozen conference rooms for another opportunity like this one.

Larry Pope Smithfield