Tamara Staples vividly remembers her first time at a poultry show.
“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?”
Staples’ love for the birds began during visits with her favorite relative, Uncle Ron, who lived in Athens, Ga., and was a chicken breeder. “I would go visit him and hang out behind his henhouse, and I started asking about chickens, and he invited me to that first poultry show 20 years ago,” said Staples.
With some guidance from her uncle, Staples began photographing the birds around the Midwest in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana over four years to get enough material for her first book, The Fairest Fowl: Portraits of Championship Chickens, published by Chronicle Books in 2001. (click link below to read entire article)
- Top: Bearded Buff Frizzle Polish Bantam hen.
- Upper middle left: White Showgirl Bantam Cockerel
- Upper middle right: Self Blue Bearded D’anvers Cockerel
- Lower middle left: Blue Cochin Bantam Pullet
- Lower middle right: Silver Duckwing Modern Game Large Fowl Hen
- Bottom left: Black Langshan Cockerel
- Bottom middle: White Leghorn Bantam Cock
- Bottom right: Porcelain Belgian Bearded D’uccle Bantam Pullet.
All photos by Tamara Staples (via Tamara Staples: “The Magnificent Chicken” examines varieties of championship chickens (PHOTOS).)