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

(Timothy Archibald)
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Jackie Onassis

Jackie O
(Timothy Archibald)
The actual photo shoot took place on the ground floor of Amos’ two-story loft in Emeryville, California. “We needed a studio that had a refrigerator in it,” says Archibald.

The photographer set up his lights, camera, his white backdrop and an underlit table with a Plexiglas top (notice: the reflections of the birds’ legs in the photographs). Days earlier in his studio, he had tested his lighting technique on a tomato soup can.

Meanwhile, Amos created an assembly line of sorts to prep the chickens. At the kitchen sink, she would remove a store-bought chicken from its plastic bag and pat it dry. Next, she perched the chicken on a large Red Bull can. “I literally went through every soda can at the grocery store trying to figure out which one actually fit up the cavity of the chicken the best,” says Amos. After the bird air-dried a bit, she would hand-sew, pin or tape on its attire. The headpieces were shot separately.

The stylist devised a way to sit a chicken on a suspension device to give it what looked like a vertical spine. “It looked anthropomorphic,” says Archibald. “It almost looked like the legs were supporting this body.” Obviously, all cans and wires were edited out of the photographs to achieve the freestanding effect.

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