All images by Dan Bannino. Used with permission.
“Everything started a few weeks ago, when I stumbled upon some news on internet about these quirky species of poultry called Paduan Chicken and I’ve then decided to travel all the way to Padua to meet Andrea Pozzato, the reigning Italian Champion of breeding chickens.” says photographer Dan Bannino about his Chic Chicks photography project. “Here Andrea is growing and looking after his beautiful exemplars of Paduan Chickens, a rather unusual species of poultry that has a funny and unique crown of feathers resembling cool 80s’ hairstyles.”
Dan is the artist behind Still Diets, and this time around he’s unleashing a more 80’s cool type of style in his work. Since starting out as a product photographer after moving to London four years ago, he moved back to Italy just to focus on personal projects–which has really worked out well for him. “I quickly felt the urge of exploring other subjects, from portraying dogs to actual people.” he tells the Phoblographer. “I always liked to experiment and challenge myself, pushing my photography to the next level, learning from mistakes but trying to keep a certain consistence with colors and style.”
So where did the inspiration for this series come from? Dan tells us:
“When I’m working on a new series, Old Masters are always the starting point for inspirations, moving from that I’ve started this project with the intention of portraying beautiful chickens like those glamorous pictures of models that you can find on the pages of high-fashion magazines. I knew that I wanted to recreate that sort of coloured light effect as great photographers do, such as Miles Aldridge and David La Chapelle in their outstanding work. I wanted to underline the unusual beauty of these animals and showing the contrast between their exploitation and their extreme 80’s elegance.”
After a first visit to the farm, Dan started building a color palette keeping in mind each chicken feathers’ shades, choosing two colors that would be used to underline their different species. “Since I had to shoot on location, I’ve decided to build a small studio-space inside the farm and using a grey wall as background, I’ve then placed my models high enough on a surface, with the help of Andrea, allowing me to find the right height and distance between me and the subjects.” explains Dan. “I must admit that these animals were surprisingly more patient and collaborative than I could ever imagined, allowing me to take the right picture just in a few minutes.”
Dan’s camera was equipped with a WiFi transmitter, that was firing two strobes lights: one on the left acting as main light, placed inside an octagonal soft-box over a stand at 45 degree in front the subject and the other, on the right just behind and outside the camera viewfinder at the same height of the chicken, to giving contrast and that particular highlighted contrast that you can see around the feathers. All the different colors where obtained by using colored filters, in every shoot they had been changed thanks the help of his assistant. Very little tweaking was done in post.