Chickens Dressed Like Napoleon, Einstein and Other Historical Figures- page 2 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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(Timothy Archibald)

Chickens Dressed Like Napoleon, Einstein and Other Historical Figures

They came, they clucked and they conquered. Get the story behind these absurd portraits and how they came to be

General Tso

General Tso
(Timothy Archibald)
“I think that sometimes when you get an idea that seems so far-fetched, you can kind of approach it with this freedom, because you don’t really think it is going to work out,” says Archibald. “That’s what this was.”

The assignment certainly fell within the photographer’s repertoire. Clients often hire Archibald to breathe fresh air into mundane objects or to somehow ground bizarre ones in the familiar. He calls his work humorous and, at times, subversive.

“I knew that he could take this for the humor,” says Roberts, “and not be heavy-handed with it, but handle it seriously, so that it was more funny.”

Archibald was skeptical—but game. His longtime stylist, Shannon Amos, who does props and wardrobe for his shoots, put him at ease. “She was like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s no problem. I’ll hire a seamstress and get these things made to the chickens’ size. It shouldn’t be a problem at all,’ ” he says. “She treated this as if it was the most traditional assignment that has ever been.”

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