Chickens. They may be winged and feathered but make no mistake they are not your average birds. These birds of the barn yard may not fly, may not tweet or sing beautiful songs but do not under estimate their beauty and character. After spending many hours photographing in the chicken tent at this years state fair, I believe it safe to assert that there was just as much personality and possibly more individuality found in that one tent than there was among the maze like miles of games and rides. The riotous colors of the games and prizes seem garish and clumsy when compared to the elegant and mesmerizing color schemes of feathers . The calls of the carnies seem mild and bland after one has been startled into a physical jump by the raspy, powerful and completely unrestrained crow of a rooster barely a foot tall. They also have this alluringly mysterious intelligence in their eyes. A mystery much more potent than what the elephant skinned baby or the three headed pig look like. As the friend who was photographing them with me said “there is something going on in their little bird brains that adds up to more than “scratch, scratch, peck, peck.” It was that mysterious complexity and the desire to capture the multifaceted personality displayed by these chickens that kept us in the tent for hours and even brought us back the following day.
Quizzical, powerful, majestic, shy, obstinate, cantankerous, contemplative, forlorn, hopeful, even sweet to name only a few of the personalities captured. While I enjoyed the rest of the fair, one only needed to step into the chicken tent with open eyes and an open mind to find all the entertainment, beauty, novelty, humanity and humor which they could ask for.