Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Truth about Turkeys: TTS (tetanic torticollar spasms) or just not so smart?

I photographed a turkey once for a Canada Post 35¢ stamp.
The turkey, who was named Tom, was very uncooperative. During a break in the shoot
the farmer accompanying Tom related a Tall Turkey Tale to me.

"You know Tom (Tom Feiler), if you leave a turkey outside in the rain the turkey will stare up to the sky and open it's mouth and stay frozen in that position. As if hypnotized. It will leave it's mouth open until it drowns."

"Hmm..", I thought.
The shoot continued and I got the shot along with some turkey poo on the studio floor but the question remained:

So why do turkeys sometimes stare skyward? 

Tom Savage, a professor of animal science at Oregon State University, says that the root of this behaviour is not stupidity, but genes. In the early 1990s, he discovered an inherited condition in turkeys, called tetanic torticollar spasms. This condition can cause turkeys to exhibit abnormal behaviours, such as looking at the sky for 30 seconds or more at a time.

Not Tom the Turkey.

So the debate remains: genetic defects as a result of TTS or just plain dumb?
All I know is that Turkeys do not like being photographed and they get nervous. In a bad way.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My Great Grandfather’s Moustache and Drying Noodles.

The month that people focus their attention on mens’ prostates.
There are a lot of moustaches out there and every time I see one 
I can almost smell drying noodles.


In my Grandma’s house, the upstairs bedrooms were used as places not to sleep. But dry noodles. When I was about 7 years old, I remember climbing up the stairs and entering one of these rooms. Noodles were splayed out all over the bedspread, and on a dresser where there was a framed photograph. I can still remember picking up the frame and staring at the people in the photograph. Especially the solitary moustached man.

I don’t know how long I was upstairs in that room when my Grandma (Mary Curko) walked in and began pointing at the picture.

"Tommy this is my mother. My sisters. My father. And your Great Grandfather. He loved his moustache." 
She paused for a second and then said,

                    "Tommy. It is time for soup.” 

She turned and walked out of the room. I carefully put the frame down, followed her down the stairs and had soup. She made good soup. 

Years have passed and I haven't thought about that photograph until I was asked to shoot this series for Bensimon ByrneThe smell of noodles was in the air that day.

Happy Movember Great Grandfather.

Creative Directors: David RosenbergHayes SteinbergChris Harrison
Art Director: Chris Harrison
Copywriter: Hayes Steinberg