May 2, 2013 - June 2, 2013
The Magnificent Chicken
In The Magnificent Chicken, photographer Tamara Staples celebrates the champions of the chicken world at their best. These stunning portraits capture the quirky personality and undeniable grace of these noble birds. This celebration of the wonder, peculiarity, and magnificence of championship chickens showcases astonishing breeds in glamorous photos.
Staples’ love of show chickens began at a poultry show in Georgia. She continued to photograph champion birds at various shows around the country for several years. It was the perfect blend of her two photographic passions: portraiture and still life. With backyard chicken-keeping and urban farming at an all-time high, the proudest of purebred poultry take center stage.
“Each breeder has spent years creating a work of art, where genetics is key. And each bird IS a work of art, from the amount of toes on each foot to the width of the wingspan, from the precise color to the exact weight. Judges carefully inspect every detail. But there is also something else: personality. Chickens can be haughty, angry, affectionate, shy, charming, sedate, or even funny. In this project, not only do I introduce these regal birds, bred to a standard that most will never match, but I also attempt to capture the individuality of each bird. Just like people, chickens are unique. Take a look into the eyes of these birds and judge for yourselves.”
Tamara Staples began her career as a stylist for print and television commercials while working on personal photography projects. In 2001, Staples published her first photography book The Fairest Fowl, Portraits of Championship Chickens. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Time Out New York, The New York Times, O Magazine, New York Magazine, and Town and Country, among others. She is the recipient of a NYFA Grant and a
PDN self-promotion award. Recently, her work inspired a play that ran off-Broadway, entitled Still Life. Staples lives and works in New York City. Her second book of chicken portraits, The Magnificent Chicken, was published in
2013 by Chronicle Books.