Poultry Portraits: Richy Lamb and Noah Kalina’s book of fashion-photography-esque chickens
We all found new hobbies during lockdown. Some made sourdough starter, some made running their personality. Richy made a book about chickens.
- Harry Bennett
- 3 November 2020
With 15 years experience in the graphic design industry, Glasgow-based designer Richy Lamb has done everything from corporate Christmas cards to comprehensive brand identities, all tackled with a meticulously typographically-led practice. Perhaps now, however, Richy has found a new calling – chickens.
During lockdown Richy reached out to photographer Noah Kalina, who he knew from previous commercial collaborations and whose work he’d admired for a long time. “The depth he gets into his images is incredible,” Richy tells It’s Nice That, “he puts out an email newsletter every Monday at 10am without fail and it’s something I look forward to.”
Knowing Noah had a small poultry collection through his newsletter and Instagram (@tinyflock), Richy thought that the chickens and their fascinating circumstance were more than deserving of a book. “His chickens aren’t run of the mill breeds,” Richy explains, recalling their surprisingly photogenic character. “When you combine that with the fact everything he photographs looks amazing, you get a pretty interesting subject matter,” Richy tells us. Finding an interest in not just the birds themselves (or the head rooster Marcel) but their spacious coop, Richy discovered the beautiful land in upstate New York where they live with Noah, and their seemingly liberal use of the photographer’s house.
With a simple brief of displaying the images, Richy intelligently designed the publication so that the design wasn’t minimal to the point of unselling the images, but also wasn’t too expressive to pull attention from the photography. The result is a simple layout that bolsters Noah’s striking poultry portraits, paired with characterful typography. “The type on the cover didn’t come straight away,” Richy recalls, originally having an image as the cover, but not managing to settle on one image he liked the most.
Approaching the problem typographically, the designer set about with the initially odd task of finding typography “that had a suggestion of the chickens without being literal.” Eventually Richy found an incredibly appropriate and ornate typeface, whose features are reminiscent of beaks and feathers. “The K in particular,” Rich adds, “reminds me of the plumage in Marcel the cockerel’s tail.”
Going through multiple iterations, Richy explains that a lot of the work went into curating the images, commenting that “Noah initially sent me 145 images, then later another 100 or so, so there was a lot of sequencing and editing to look at,” with Noah’s first look at the book being Richy’s fifth edit. “We worked well together,” Richy says, “Noah was open to anything and interested in the process and I enjoyed having great images to work with.”
There is something utterly joyful about this project, some innate unspoken satisfaction that comes from fashion-photography-esque photos of chickens in a lavish landscape. Whatever that feeling is, Richy has nailed it.
Tiny Flock is now available to purchase on Post Post Modern.
GalleryRichy Lamb, Noah Kalina: Tiny Flock
Richy Lamb, Gordon Burniston: Tiny Flock (Copyright © Richy Lamb, Gordon Burniston, 2020)
About the Author
After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. He nows works as a freelance writer and designer, and is one half of Studio Ground Floor.