This work by documentary photographer Hunter Barnes provides a unique and intimate portrait of a small community of Serpent Handlers in West Virginia. This devout way of life finds its roots in the King James Bible, with followers believing that the literal interpretation of passages of Mark and Luke regarding handling poisonous serpents and drinking lethal poisons is central to their faith. With lyrical reflections accompanying his photographs, Hunter’s sensitive study brings beauty and understanding to a perhaps misunderstood practice. In recording this slowly diminishing community, this photographic collection also provides a valuable service to the cultural history of the United States.
A Testimony of Serpent Handling is a limited, numbered edition of 1000 books (we were lucky enough to buy one of the first editions!) To order one for yourself or if you're interested in purchasing a print click here! There will be an exhibition of this work starting December 13th at Milk Gallery located at 450 West 15th Street here in New York. In the meantime, be sure and watch the video below to learn more about Hunter's thoughts behind this fascinating culture.