Jean Pagliuso: Poultry, Raptors, Places of Ritual

Exhibition Dates:

January 2 – March 16, 2018

[F]ashion. Photography. Chickens?

These three seemingly disparate themes intersect in acclaimed photographer Jean Pagliuso’s upcoming show at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.

Following a 30-year career as a portrait photographer working for such publications as Vogue, Times, Newsweek, Time and Rolling Stone, Pagliuso  decided to turn her lens on a less traditional subject: chickens.

What began as a way to honor her father’s love of breeding show chickens has since become an extensive collection of poultry portraits. Pagliuso has taken close-up shots of over 20 different chicken breeds, posing them and focusing on the unique plumage and expressions of each.

“I don’t see it as any different at all from photographing people. It’s exactly the same to me. I look for the same things. I look for form and the way the frame is filled,” Pagliuso said in a 2015 interview with Slate Magazine.

The black and white images are hand printed on nearly transparent paper. Pagliuso’s treatment of the birds, combined with the delicacy of the printing materials, create a dignified and surprisingly moving series of portraits.

FMoPA Executive Director Zora Carrier, Ph.D. believes Pagliuso’s chickens resonatebecause she photographs them the same way she photographs fashion models and celebrities.

“In the literary arts, animals are often used as a metaphor for human behavior. I think part of the reason these photographs are so successful at capturing our attention isbecause they bring that same metaphorical quality to the visual arts,” said Carrier.

In addition to poultry photography, Pagliuso’s exhibition at FMoPA also will feature a selection of photographs from her book, In Plain Sight, which explores endangered environments and places of ritual in Cambodia, India, New Mexico, Peru and Turkey.

The exhibition, titled Poultry, Raptors, Places of Ritual, is now open at FMoPA and run through March 16. Pagliuso will talk about her process in an artist lecture hosted at the museum on February 9 at 6 p.m. The lecture is free for members. Regular museum admission fees apply for not-yet members.