Barnyard Beauty: Poultry Portraits

On Thanksgiving Monday I attended the 159th annual Rockton World Fair. The sunny weather reached a record high as thousands of people flocked to see the horse show, cow milking and sheep shearing demonstrations, baking and quilting competitions, tractor pull and barnyard animals of every kind. But for me (and my camera) the highlight was the Poultry, Pigeon and Rabbit Show.

I adore rabbits yet I didn’t take a single photograph of one.  It was the undeniable allure of bold, colourful feathers that immediately grabbed my attention.

I’m fascinated by colour, texture and pattern and these birds’ beautiful plumage offer an infinite source of design inspiration. Stylish. Extravagant. Dramatic. Graceful. Birds must have inspired the saying “Flaunt it if you’ve got it.”

At first I began taking detailed photos of just their feathers, but slowly I started to see that not all the birds reacted in the same manner when I approached them. When I realized that each bird possessed a unique personality, I started taking these portraits. Like humans, some were more interesting than others. These were not the most beautiful birds in the show, just my favourite personalities. A few had gentle dispositions. Others were aggressive and pecked at my hands and camera if I got too close. And one little beauty was able to sleep amidst the noise and mayhem of the show.

These birds may be raised for their meat and eggs, but they are more than just food, they are something to behold.  I’m inspired by their bold, attractive patterns and distinctive markings.  And their unusual colour combinations are sure to find their way into at least one of my scarf designs; creamy white, pale gold and light orange, bright red and turquoise, or deep chestnut and rich lustrous greenish-black.

There’s no denying, these birds are barnyard beauties.

12 replies to “Barnyard Beauty: Poultry Portraits

  1. I guess I’ve never really looked closely at too many fowl..though I do remember taking some pics of chickens on Toronto Island!! they had extraordinary topknots!! Yours have fascinating feather designs..can’t wait to see how they transpire into one or more of your scarf designs.

  2. Love your natural curiosity and the vision that follows. Years ago I took my grandchildren to the Armstrong Country fair and we could not believe the number of different types of chickens, we had a hard time leaving these beautiful birds.

    1. Thank you Judy. “Soulful” is such a lovely way to describe them. These birds really did pose for me. So many of the other birds would just move to the back of the cage when I approached them – and not wanting to distress the birds I decided I’d only take their picture if they didn’t seem to mind.

  3. This reminds me of the Fairest Fowl book- what amazing birds. Too bad they’re not more common some cities are allowing a few chickens in backyards (roosters are too noisy). I’d think that was quirky but I’d kinda like it once I got used to the clucking neighbours!

    1. Absolutely Michele. In retrospect that book must have influenced my portraits on some level since I’ve owned it for many years. The Fairest Fowl is a book of real High Fashion photography of prize winning birds that are standards of perfection. My little portraits celebrate beautiful imperfection.

  4. We seem surrounded by talking heads claiming ” passion” in their work making basically widgets And these and you seem the authentic Real thing. Will be able to say ” saw them before she was ” an overnight sensational discovery ” ( after all the work clearly, deeply invested.)
    Go get them.

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