The Piglet Photo

Updated February 12, 1998

Among some of Tori's most devoted and long-time followers, the "piglet photo" inside the cd booklet for BOYS FOR PELE evokes understanding. However, there are still many people who are truly startled by the image and wonder what it means. These fans have reacted with surprise, some with disgust, and others with laughter. I have heard many fans give interpretations, like "She is calling her ex-boyfriend a pig" to "She is refering to all men as pigs". Tori has been asked about this photo (ad nauseam) in many interviews, and I thought I would share what she has said. In case you have not seen the photo, Tori is shown breast-feeding or nursing a small baby piglet in her arms. The photo was shot by Cindy Palmano, who was responsible for all of Tori's album photography from Little Earthquakes through Boys For Pele.

On a radio interview with talk show host Michael Jackson, she says, "The picture represents that which is hidden, that which we're ashamed of, the non-kosher. To bring it back home, to nurse it, to nurture it. There's so much that's hidden about our feelings that makes us crazy, that makes us do things to ourselves and other people which causes all this pain. So this is about freeing that and acknowledging it." At her Virgin megastore in-store appearance in May 1996, she basically ties this idea to Christian upbringing, "You hid what you were really thinking, it was shameful, it was wrong ."

In another interview on CFNY radio in January 1996, Tori elaborates on this point, "being a minister's daughter..there's so many things that weren't much about sensuality and passion and woman's bodies..and woman's stuff.. and you know.. I remember a woman breast feeding a father was like putting his hands over my eyes..."

In an April 1996 Keyboard Review Article, Tori delcares, "I'm not a victim to marketing. Don't kid yourself: there's no picture that goes out that I can't live with.... I work with Cindy Palmano, who's an amazing photographer; I want to portray certain things visually, and I do."

During Tori's appearance at the Virgin Megastore in May 1996, she said this is response to the inevitable piglet question, "That's my Christmas shot, my Madonna and child. My father's been wanting me to do Christmas cards for years."

Toriphile Nathan Robertson says Tori was interviewed from the UK on JJJ FM radio in Australia on February 26, 1996. When asked about the photo, Tori stated, "Um, that day, the little critter was 4 days old. And he was with me for hours. And was scared, and hungry, and um, just kind of, ah, fell right in on there. And um, I think more than anything the picture represents what I wanted to show. Um, the record is very much about exposing that which is hidden in the unconscious. That's why a lot of the record is kind of, um, metaphorical work. Um, nurturing that which has been hidden, non-kosher if you will."

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