See more of the story

If you thought wrangling your toddler for a holiday photo shoot was hard, imagine convincing a pair of chickens to stand in one spot for a glamour shot.

Then imagine doing that over and over with various other species -- goat, swine, poultry, sheep, llama, rabbit, beef cattle, draft horse, stock dog -- until you've created an epic composite portrait of the Minnesota State Fair's exhibition-winning farm animals.

That's exactly what Minneapolis photographer R. J. Kern did for this year's commemorative state fair photo. The photographer took the male and female "Supreme Champions" of each category and photographed them two by two; he later combined the images so it looks like a happy group portrait from Old MacDonald's Farm.

"As the first photographer commissioned by the Minnesota State Fair, I wanted to create a portrait that pays homage to this legacy, highlights the spirit of competition, and documents champion livestock at a decisive moment in time and place at one of the most competitive and popular animal contests in the world," Kern wrote of the experience.

The Minnesota State Fair commemorative art will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during the 2019 state fair from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2. The print is available for purchase here and here, as well as during the fair at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book and State Fair Poster Carts.