7 Nov 2014

Sages, Rock Chicks and Crazy Professors!

The talent of photographer Beth Moon was brought to Mirabelle's attention by my beloved better half, Roby K. There is a dialogue and complicity going on between Beth and her subjects - be they inanimate, like the majestic secular trees with tortuous trunks and twisted appendages - or animate, exemplified here by the 'humble' farm animals, whose very sentience is either negated by the carnivorous amongst us or relegated to the back of their minds (as a reflection that "Increasingly animals have moved out of our view"), with consideration simply bestowed to the ready-to-be-consumed end product on their plate with all the trimmings, which brings to the fore the separation of food from animal death and the underlying cruelty of industrial farming and mass-consumerism.

In her 'Augurs and Soothsayers' portfolio, Beth Moon gives us the opportunity to rediscover chickens with a fresh eye, capture their beauty, appreciate their personality and sensitive streak that ooze from the shoots, and understand their honourable legacy. Beth praises the symbiosis between our elders and the animal world and she explains, for instance, how in Roman times, chickens were used in augury (the oldest form of fortune telling). Those who still see chickens as nothing more than fodder to the KFC drumstick machine, be damned!


Sources: All photography by Beth Moon, from her Augurs and Soothsayers portfolio. Some feathery companions like the (1) 'Appenzellar Spitzhauben' and (2) 'Asil Close Up' look sage and demure like scholars or clerics. The (3) 'Faverolles Golden' resembles a 1930s silver screen starlet as immortalised by Studio Harcourt, wrapped in a fitted coat with a fur collar. Other chicks like the (4) 'Silver Laced Polish' have shed any wallflower constraint and are strutting their stuff with a touch of Tina Turner flamboyance! Crazy professor types like the (5) 'Modern Game' look equally eccentric! You might even go as far as conceding that the (6) 'Minorca Black Hen' resembles a chaperon straight out of a Jane Austen novel, and the (7) 'Leghorn' is Maurice-Quentin de La Tour's self-portrait as a bird!

Additional Food for Thought on Farm Animal Welfare:
  • 'Playdoyer pour les Animaux' by French Buddhist Monk Matthieu Ricard. "Tous les ans, 60 milliards d’animaux terrestres et 1000 milliards d’animaux marins sont tués pour notre consommation." (Quote source). Translation: "Every year, 60 billion terrestrial animals and 1000 billions marine animals are killed for human consumption."
  • 'We Animals' is a poignant project and photography-led testimony by Canadian award-winning photojournalist, author and activist Jo-Anne McArthur who has also contributed to the powerful The Ghosts in Our Machine documentary by Canadian auteur filmmaker Liz Marshall.
  • 15/02/2015 update: Check out Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary's 'Gallina Gallery' photoshoot of 45 ex-battery hens enjoying the limelight and star treatment after a life of misery! The photoshoot was used as an opportunity to 'help educate people about the individuality of the animals lost within the system' (source: Care2). Meanwhile the mind boggles at the fact that 'in the United States, more than 7 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year, and 452 million hens are used for their eggs' (source: PETA).

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