© Tamara Staples
Visiting Tamara Staples' website you'll find light, bright, juicy photographs: luscious foods and candied lips and graphic stacks of jewels. These pretty chicken portraits are weighty by comparison and we find a photographer dedicated to enlightening us on the strange world of breeding fancy poultry.
"At this time in our history, the movement back to the small family farm across the US is strong. Whether this move is due to economics or a renewed understanding of our relationship to the earth, it cannot be denied. Backyard chickens coops have become so popular there are magazines and hundreds of books devoted to this very topic."
"Meanwhile, at poultry shows all over the world, known as The Fancy, chickens of all shapes, colors and sizes await their judgment. There is an existing framework, a culture really, that aims to perfect these birds by breeding them based on a book entitled, The Standard of Perfection. These birds are something to behold, and few outside of The Fancy even know of their existence. 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 attempting 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.
All images © Tamara Staples