You've Never Seen Chickens Look This Human

Peculiar portraits of championship chickens, by award-winning photographer Tamara Staples

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Who's the fairest fowl of all? In her new book The Magnificent Chicken, Brooklyn-based photographer Tamara Staples makes a strong case for the purebred Gallus gallus domesticus, from the ultra-dignified Black Langshan Cockerel to the eccentric Beaded Buff Laced Polish Frizzle Bantam Hen. If you have never been to a poultry show, you've probably never even imagined chickens as diverse and stunning as the ones in Staples' portraits.

The book begins with an interview and essay by This American Life host Ira Glass. "What happens when you try to treat a chicken they way we treat humans, even if it is just for the length of a photo shoot?" Glass writes. "What happens, it turns out, is you learn just what the thin line is that divides human beings from birds."

See the gallery for 11 prize-winning barnyard beauties from The Magnificent Chicken.

Beaded Buff Laced Polish Frizzle Bantam Hen

Beaded Buff Laced Polish Frizzle Bantam Hen Class: Single Comb Clean Legged Other Than Game Bantam Origin: Eastern EuropeTamara Staples

Self Blue Belgian Bearded D'Anvers Cockerel

Self Blue Belgian Bearded D'Anvers Cockerel Class: Rose Comb Clean Legged Bantams Origin: EuropeTamara Staples

White Leghorn Bantam Cock

White Leghorn Bantam Cock Class: Single Comb Clean Legged Other Than Game Bantams Origin: ItalyTamara Staples

White Showgirl Bantam Cockerel

White Showgirl Bantam Cockerel Class: Feather Legged Bantams Origin: Japan, HungaryTamara Staples

Black Japanese Bantam Cock

Black Japanese Bantam Cock Class: Single Comb Clean Legged Other Than Game Bantams Origin: JapanTamara Staples

Porcelain Belgian Bearded D'Uccle Bantam Pullet

Porcelain Belgian Bearded D'Uccle Bantam Pullet Class: Feather Legged Bantams Origin: GermanyTamara Staples

Silver Duckwing Modern Game LF Hen

Silver Duckwing Modern Game LF Hen Class: All Other Standard Breeds Origin: Great BritainTamara Staples

Salmon Faverolles Bantam Cockerel

Salmon Faverolles Bantam Cockerel Class: Feather Legged Bantams Origin: Faverolles, FranceTamara Staples

Blue Cochin Bantam Pullet

Blue Cochin Bantam Pullet Class: Feather Legged Bantams Origin: ChinaTamara Staples

Black Langshan Cockerel

Black Langshan Cockerel Class: Asiatic Origin: ChinaTamara Staples

Belgian Bearded D'Uccle Mille Fleur Bantam Cock

Belgian Bearded D'Uccle Mille Fleur Bantam Cock Class: Feather Legged Bantams Origin: GermanyTamara Staples

The Magnificent Chicken: Portraits of the Fairest Fowl

Photographs by Tamara Staples Essay by Ira Glass $24.95 from Chronicle BooksChronicle Books