Fascinating Photographs of West Virginia Serpent Handlers

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Hunter Barnes is not your average photographer. He immerses himself completely in his environment. Whether he’s shooting the Tamil Tigers in a Sri Lankan village, the Bloods in East St. Louis, or the residents of the Lapwai Idaho Reservation, he lives with his subjects for a long time before even bringing out his camera equipment. It’s no wonder that his descriptions of a small church community in the mountains of West Virginia make it sound like he found God himself. He intros this fascinating, humble photo essay talking of a “light” that “felt so pure” and of a “clear path” felt by the people of the community. See them dangle live snakes, perform baptisms, and lead congregations in their services, as shot in analog black and white for his newest series, A Testimony of Serpent Handling.

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes

Photo credit: Hunter Barnes