Some questions that may just generate more questions:
Who is the Chicken? Is it always the same chicken?
The Chicken doesn’t have a name…yet (if you have a suggestion, tell me). It doesn’t even have a gender because sometimes pronouns aren’t really necessary. The Chicken is simply a being with an essence that’s always the same. It’s curious and thoughtful while exploring the world. It’s as easily confused by stupid behavior as it is by beauty. It lives in the same reality we live in but the world looks different to the Chicken. It’s a tourist in a familiar place.
It’s not always the same physical chicken and over the years there have been at least a dozen of them. They get disheveled and then it’s time to move onto a freshie. Some have been sacrificed to the ocean, or to a child who fell in love, or to the most wonderful kitty in all kittykind, Luigi.
I’ve been asked if I’m the Chicken and I think sometimes I am. In the sense that it has the naivety, innocence, and wonder that I see in myself. But sometimes the Chicken and I have nothing in common and that’s a beautiful thing.
Are the photos really taken in all those places?
Yes. Every single one. The Chicken is a total glutton for wandering around. It loves leaving home to play house in another one. It’s cage free and free range, you guys. As it should be. As we should be.
What is the point of this?
To alter the course of history would be nice, but the Chicken would be happy to just inspire a few people. Or make someone do LOLing. The Chicken’s sole reason to exist is to refresh the way we go through our days. It wants us to wash off the grime of habit and remember that this whole experience is pretty mind blowing. We have a choice to live with some oomph or to just barely live and the Chicken can’t comprehend the latter. There is art in everything, even the smallest thing, and the Chicken wants to show you what that looks like. Because if everyone saw the world the way the Chicken sees it, it would be a world of angel kittens and dew diamonds falling from a Chuck Norris sky. For realz.
Why a chicken?
I’ve always been into farm animals. I used to spend hours alone as a kid arranging elaborate farm worlds for my toy animals. Then, when I was in kindergarten, our class tried to hatch chickens from an incubator and much to my parents’ joy, mine was the only one that hatched! I was so excited to bring home my chicken, only later on in life did I learn that he was mentally handicapped and somewhat deformed. I was like: “I love you SO much.” I named him Henry and he would sleep on my pillow, sweet little chirrups in my ear all night long. I would proudly take him to the grocery store where he would perch on my shoulder, strong and regal, albeit cross-beaked. Here’s a picture of my sister mocking my love for Henry and his sweet afro.
From then on, chickens were part of our household. We got Henry some chickie ladies named Sweet Potato and Mud Pie and my dad built a chicken coup that still stands in their backyard. Thereafter came a long line of Henrys…I didn’t even try to think of a different name. Needless to say, these social animals have always been part of my family.
Regardless of all that history, this project started without any conscious decision-making at all. It happened Easter 2011 when I was recovering from ACL surgery at my friend’s cabin in Evergreen, Colorado. Naturally, I brought my favorite Easter paraphernalia. On a whim and on crutches, I took a toy Easter chicken and my favorite Rambo Bunny candle outside for some photographing. This was the first shot I took and maaaaaybe it was the pain killers, but I was hooked.
Does the Chicken get photographed everywhere it goes?
Unfortunately no. There was a period when I was totally over the Chicken. I found it annoying and lame. So I took the Chicken to Sweden, Morocco, New York and Utah without taking a decent photo or without taking a photo at all. But now that the Chicken’s purpose and personality is clear, it WILL be photographed in every cool place it goes.
Why are you doing this to us?
Because life with the Chicken is really fun. It started as a spontaneous photo shoot and has since turned into the perfect way to play every day with my true blue loves: pictures, sentences, and cute things!
Photography has always been me. I’m a very visual person and I remember life through images. Writing was also there from the get-go. I’ve flagrantly called myself a writer for as long as I can remember but I’m pretty uninterested in writing anything with much length. What appeals to me are individual sentences, paragraphs, and captions. I like to use a caption to make an image more than its visual self, to change it by making you literally read into it. And, *blammo!*, suddenly there was a weird chicken photo project that made everyone close to me go “OK…uh, sure…”
Can I repost your work?
Yes. The Chicken was created to be shared, that’s the point. Every photo should have a social hover option on it to spread it around, so please do. The work is copyrighted so cite it correctly by linking back to this site and throw it far and wide. But please don’t outright copycat the idea, or change a semicolon and proclaim “Voila! Look what new thing I’ve made!”. Our hearts, the Chicken’s and mine, are in this and when you steal or plagiarize, you hurt good things.
I want to wallpaper my life in Chicken prints; where can I buy them?
I am working on setting up an Etsy store for ordering prints of The Pecking Orders series. In the meantime, if living without a Chicken print is making you toss and turn, contact me here and we’ll work something out.
What type of camera do you use?
I used to be embarrassed by this but now I’m good with it: I use a regular point-and-shoot camera for all of my photos. For the last few years I’ve been using a Sony Cybershot and I can’t rave enough about this camera (©The Pecking Orders now accepting ©Sony sponsorship opportunities!). It basically comes down to me being too lazy to lug around a camera with any sort of girth. I like my camera to be discrete so it’s not obvious when I’m taking a photo, but I’m not content with a camera phone. I land somewhere between a snob and a non-snob. I’ve found very few limitations with my point-and-shoot, so with a point-and-shoot I stay. I am, however, getting to the point where I’m ready for a more complex camera, but it has to fit in my jacket pocket.
I would like the Chicken to be my new BFF; how can I apply for the position?
The Chicken would love to be BFFs. If you love it, it loves you. That’s how these things work. Actually, it would probably still love you even if you hated it. Because that’s how things should work. Ways and means to contact the Chicken here. The Chicken also tweets (obviously, duh, it’s a chicken…), does Facebooking, Instagramming, and Pinteresting, etc. so there are many ways to totally drown yourself in poultry brilliance.
Or check out my other blog, Things They Forgot to Mention.
I think this is pointless/bad/somethingaboutObamaCare; should I send you nastygrams?
Please no. Like every human being, the things you say impact how I feel. If you hate this with all of your heart, here’s a solution: forget this ever existed, this wasn’t meant for you, move on. Happy day for all! I do, however, appreciate constructive criticism. Sometimes I suck at grammar or overlook the obvious or think everyone knows what I’m talking about. Write to me human to human (or human to chicken), as if I was sitting across from you. Just because we’re on the world wide web doesn’t mean we should act like bullies.
If you made it all the way through the FAQs, The Pecking Orders, the Chicken and I are a little impressed. We’re excited we’re all here. If you want to contact us, go here.
Keep calm and cluck on!