With its moody, dark background and sullen vibe, this photograph of a farmer named Silviana and her black turkey looks like a Caravaggio painting. It was taken by Jorge Bacelar in Murtosa, Portugal, and it’s a taste of a long history.
“Spanish discoverers returned from their first forays into Central America. During their discoveries, they found that the Aztecs had 2 kinds of pets: the black turkey and the dog,” Bacelar said. “The Spaniards were amazed by this giant bird. In Europe, 500 years ago, you couldn’t find a bird that size. Even before bringing back the gold, they brought the birds back home in the boats; it turned out that the dominant montane agro-ecosystem in the Iberian peninsula provided exactly what turkeys needed. From Spain, they passed very easily and quickly to Portugal where the tradition was kept alive until today, more than 500 years later.”
In addition to the amazing history and lighting, what really does it for me in this photo is the textures—the turkey’s gnarled skin and downy feathers, the farmer’s wrinkled hands and fluffy, curly hair. Also, look how intimidatingly they’re both staring.