Meet Carl Hunter – a man who just LOVES his chickens. He raises them for their eggs. What were you thinking??? And before anyone starts worrying, no chickens were harmed in the making of this image.
The title of this image is actually Bon Appetit, although most people refer to it as the Chicken Man. And it was created during a class I took at the Los Angeles Center of Photography, which culminated in an exhibit of all our images.
The first idea that came to me was Carl with his chickens. I remembered him from a blessing of the animals ceremony I attended a couple of years back. Via the miracle of the internet, I discovered he lived just over a mile from me! I contacted him and explained my idea, and he was both very amused and all up for it.
I had never actually worked with animals before – much less poultry – and wasn’t sure if my idea was even possible. How do you even direct a chicken???? I pondered all this while completely remodeling his home for the shoot, moving furniture, raising the chandelier, setting up lights... Then, after introducing me to his girls, and choosing our model, we discussed exactly what I was going for and told him to never take his eyes off the camera NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!
The rest was a matter of patience and timing and hoping the chicken would at the very least find me even mildly interesting enough to look at. Although I was just cracking up at the chicken’s antics, Carl followed my directions PERFECTLY, and never looked away from the camera.
The result has been one of my most popular images. I invited Carl to opening night of the exhibit, where he was welcomed as a celebrity. Everyone wanted a selfie of themselves with him in front of this portrait.
Though he was too humble to say so, I think Carl had the time of his life.