Shooting the Powerful Fortune 500 Boards

Who are some of the most powerful people in business? You're looking at them. Recently, photographic duo, Floto +Warner were asked by Fortune to shoot six boards at some of America's most high-profile organizations. They traveled from coast to coast, shooting everyone from the Whole Foods board in their San Francisco, Haight Ashbury store to beauty conglomerate Este Lauder and the New York City Ballet's boards in New York. Since none of the companies offered more than 15 minutes with their boards and all required pre-approval, each shot was carefully composed and conceptualized with the help of Fortune Photo Editor Alix Colow and Set Designer Peter Garagliano. I like how you can tell a lot about each company through these pictures.

Above: Este Lauder: Feb. 29, 2012, New York City: If there's a luxury beauty brand that has struck a chord with women, chances are pretty good Este Lauder owns it. The cosmetics giant (No. 290) has stayed youthful over the years by assembling a portfolio of cult labels like La Mer, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, and Jo Malone. Though 62% of revenue came from outside the U.S. last year, North American sales increased 9% — the region's highest growth in a decade.

Whole Foods: March 8, 2012, San Francisco: Whole Foods Market (No. 264) co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey tends to pound the table about “conscious capitalism,” pushing organizations to focus on purpose rather than profit. His grocery giant, the 800-pound gorilla in the booming natural foods market, proves the two forces don't have to be at odds: Sales from Whole Foods' 311 stores, which provide organic and sustainable produce aplenty, reached $10.1 billion last year, and earnings were up 39%.

Harvard Corp: April 2, 2012, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University's charter of 1650 established the President and Fellows of Harvard College, or the Harvard Corp., as managers of the university's “academic, financial, and physical resources and its fundamental institutional health and progress.” Membership had been capped at seven until last July, when three new fellows joined the board. Harvard Corp.'s most notable responsibility: controlling the payout rate of Harvard's endowment, which reached $32 billion in 2011.

General Motors: March 19, 2012, Detroit: There are comebacks, and then there are comebacks. In 2009, General Motors (No. 5) filed for bankruptcy, requiring a federal bailout to survive. But after downsizing and dusting itself off under Chapter 11 protection, it launched a monster IPO in 2010 and saw its most profitable year ever in 2011. Europe remains a shaky market, and the rollout of its high-profile electric car, the Volt, has proved a bumpy ride. But for now, the auto giant returns to the Fortune 500's top five for the first time since 2008.

eBay: March 28, 2012, San Jose: It seems like eons ago that eBay (No. 228) first came on the scene as a quirky online marketplace where anyone could sell anything. Now a multinational giant, the company is benefiting from its online payment business PayPal, which claims 110 million users around the world. Though Paypal lost its president Scott Thompson to Yahoo earlier this year, its 29% increase in payment volume helped drive eBay's overall revenues, which climbed 27% in 2011, sending the company up 41 slots on the Fortune 500.

NYC Ballet: April 18, 2012, New York City: The New York City Ballet is home to some of the best dancers in the world. Its 41-member board includes Fortune 500 executives from Google and Morgan Stanley, plus a federal judge and Sarah Jessica Parker.

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