Extraordinary Chickens

Extraordinary Chickens

THEY may look like perm-sporting rock stars or even perfectly coiffured poodles – but this collection of specially-trimmed wildlife are actually all CHICKENS.

This egg-straordinary collection of fowl was captured by photographer Stephen Green-Armytage and are a far cry from the ones usually found on British farms or in your local supermarket.

Words like extravagant, eccentric and exotic are rarely used to describe chickens but the book captures a side to the birds which many will never know existed.

In some of the comic snaps, the birds can be seen sporting wild-looking afros andĀ  mohicans more reminiscent of the likes of football legend Kevin Keegan or Queen guitarist Brian May.

And rather than the traditional dark red and brown colourings usually associated with theĀ  birds, many of them sport distinctive iridescent plumage.

The book, entitled ‘Extra Extraordinary Chickens’ features 61 breeds from around the globe and took Mr Green-Armytage four months to compile.

They include the amusingly named Polish Frizzles, Rumpless Yellow Partridge Pullets and White Spangled Buff Owlbeards.

The 73-year-old, originally from Bath but now living in New York, said: “I try to photograph these birds as if they are movie stars, with flattering lighting and neutral studio backgrounds.

“Some of my subjects were more like comedians or character actors than leading men or women – you will also find a few child actors.

“A lady in Ohio had once offered to go home to fetch bonnets, Santa Claus suits, and who knows what else, to dress up her birds. I gently explained to her it was not that sort of book.

“I am following the goal of presenting a photographic celebration of these creatures in all their beauty and variety.

“Just as dogs and cats are groomed before and during a competitive show, so are chickens and other birds.

“They are cleaned, including their faces and feet, and their feathers are made as neat as possible.”

Mr Green-Armytage explained how he came across so many strange birds on his travels and what they were like to photograph.

“I attended several poultry shows, and even at the small regional events, I could expect to see a wide variety of breeds, and within each breed there would usually be a choice of colours and feather patterns,” he added.

“Persuading the birds to pose for me also turned out to be fairly easy. Most chickens brought to shows are used to being put in unfamiliar situations and to being handled.

“For the most part my subjects were very calm and co-operative. Perhaps some were overawed by the experience and instinctively remained calmed and passive.”

Mr Green Armytage started as a freelancer before working on major advertising campaigns and then magazine work.

During the 1980s he worked for Life Magazine but moved into advertising work in the United States, which has included assignments for agencies in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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