Our brains have been thinking a lot about chickens. You can say we are a bit obsessed. For the past year we’ve been debating on when, how, and where. Finally, this spring we are excited to announce that we are getting chickens! I don’t think they will ever be as beautiful as the ones pictured in this pretty chicken project by Tamara Staples. I’m sure our new chicken adventures will leave us with much more respect for the award winning chicken sub-culture than we ever expected!
Tamara Staples, a commercial photographer, started her career as a prop stylist for print and television. Her daytime job is obviously much more “urban” (checkout her still life photos!) but she has managed to find time to pursue more personal projects as well. As a little girl she found her love for chickens while visiting her Uncle Ron, a chicken breeder in Athens, GA. It took her nearly four years of traveling to award shows in the Midwest before she could publish her first photography book in 2001; The Fairest Fowl: Portraits of Championship Chickens.
Now with the release of her second chicken book, The Magnificent Chicken, Tamara has done it again and nearly left us all awe-struck over these awkward and yet beautiful creatures.
Tamera recalls her first visit at a poultry show 20 years ago;
“I remember stepping inside and being blown away by the birds,” Staples recounted. “They were gorgeous! And the show itself—the people, the smell, the sounds, the camaraderie of the shows and the beauty of the birds—who knew there were so many varieties of chickens beyond what you think about when they’re on your dinner plate?” - Tamara Staples | Slate
“Poultry shows exist all over this country. They are amazing organizations. There, you will find generations of families involved in the upkeep and competition of the birds, working together in a city folk’s dream of the country. When you look at these photographs, you may see a beautiful bird, you may see a proud chicken, and you may even be able to marvel at the colors or patterns that make each bird unique. What I wish you could see is the passionate 12-year-old boy, getting up before school, before daylight, no matter the weather, and making sure his birds made it through the cold night as he waters and feeds them. And now imagine his grandfather, who’s been raising and showing his birds since he was a child, carefully holding a newborn chick, imparting years of wisdom to his grandson. Imagine the family at the poultry show, as the ribbons are distributed and whether victory or defeat, all lifelong lessons.” - Tamara Staples | Chronicle Books Blog
“These chickens are works of art. They’ve been breed to a perfection by serious, passionate and life long breeders. They are the outcome of their great, great grand chickens, carefully raised to be the competitive bird you see here.” - Tamara Staples | Chronicle Books Blog
In 2003 she was featured on NPR’s hit series “This American Life”. Take a listen for a behind the scenes look at the fine art of chicken portraiture.
Every once in a while we come along a project that sorta stops us in our tracks. Our Everyday Design Series is a place to highlight creatives who create art and design out of things we normally take for granted. Sometimes the greatest ideas are found when we actually slow down and take the time to reminisce on the things we truly love.
For Tamara Staples that was chickens.
What are the random and unique things about your world that inspire you?
From the Farm
Purchase The Magnificent Chicken at Chronicle Books Online. A fun gift idea for Father’s Day or a coffee table book for that urban farmer enthusiast.
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