Too often we forget where our food comes from. A stunning new project “Chic Chicks” aims to put household chooks in the spotlight, reminding us of their simple beauty and elegance. We chat to the project’s founder, Italian photographer, Dan Bannino, about his work and message.
Photography and words: Dan Bannino
Whilst browsing the internet, I found news about some quirky species of poultry called “Paduan Chicken.” I fell in love with them. That’s why I decided to travel all the way to Padua to meet Andrea Pozzato, the reigning Italian Champion of breeding chickens.
For this series, the light-bulb switched on when I stumbled upon a picture of one of these chickens and realised that I wanted to portray these beautiful birds as glamorous models that you could find on the pages of high-fashion magazines.
I wanted to underline the fact that some of us don’t even know how gorgeous a “common” chicken is. In modern society, food is highly industrialised and often comes to our tables in a completely different shape than its original form. Aside from the vegetarian or non-vegetarian vision, I think that animals should be fully appreciated and respected. I wanted to underline the unusual beauty of these animals and showcase the contrast between their exploitation and extreme elegance.
Shooting these unusual models was rather challenging, but despite what I firstly thought, these talented chickens were so patient and collaborative, allowing me to take the right picture in just a few minutes.
Since I had to shoot on-location, I decided to build a small studio-space inside the farm and I then placed my models high enough on a surface, with the help of Andrea, finding the right height and distance between my camera and the subjects. My assistant would move the main light around trying to get the right position while I managed to shoot the picture I was looking for.
Definitely funny and rewarding!
Every time I’m lucky enough to work with animals and closely with nature, I realise how important it is to respect and love nature by paying attention to our behaviours.
I wanted to underline the unusual beauty of these animals and showcase the contrast between their exploitation and extreme elegance.
Everyday life, books and online news always give me huge inspiration for telling a story. I also find great inspiration from movies and, of course, I like to spend a bunch of time visiting exhibitions, since I’m a huge art lover.
Inspiration for the next photo can be just around the corner.
Recently someone described my work as “Pop-Renaissance” and I kind of like it, since one of my main sources of inspiration are Old Masters.
I was born in Italy, so mixing the ancient (and glorious) art history that always surrounded me with the more Pop and neon-coloured world coming from television (as a kid) and then the Internet (nowadays) is somehow a natural consequence.
Every photo is a new challenge. Consequently in every project I like to explore and confront myself with different subjects and topics.
As for future projects, I can’t say much – at the moment I’m promoting my beloved chicks.
Dan Bannino is an Italian-born photographer, he likes to translate ideas into images. Someone described his work as “Pop-Renaissance”, mixing popular culture and Old Masters’ style. He has gained international recognition with his photos and has been published internationally in a variety of magazines such as The Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Elle, Cosmopolitan and more.
Cover photo features chicks: Fluffy, Yolko, Willow, Flocky and Ziggy.