Tamara Staples was a shy young woman with a camera when her Uncle Ron invited her to come with him to a chicken show.
The Fancy, as chicken breeders call such gatherings, are the pinnacle events for breeders looking to show off their prize poultry.
Staples, taken by the elevation of the common bird to runway supermodel, hatched an idea that day to return with her camera to another show and photograph what she’d seen.
Twenty-some-odd years later she is still consumed by the birds and explores them in her new book, The Magnificent Chicken: Portraits of the Fairest Fowl.
In an era when chickens are celebrated in pop culture, hipster hot-sauce bottles, and backyard farming, Staples describes her project as unique in showing how chickens can be more than just food.
The bearded Belgium D’uccle Mille Fleur Bantam Cock in the first image and the others that follow, seen here through Staples’s camera lens, appear proud and aware.