The Last of the Serpent Handlers

12.11.12 Marina Galperina

Remember the badass photographer who talked to us about his time with the St. Louis Bloods for ANIMAL’s I Should Have Shot That! series? Of course you do.

This Thursday, his solo exhibition opens at Milk Studios in Chelsea. For a month in 2010, Hunter Barnes lived with the last remaining Serpent Handlers, in the hills of West Virginia. The God’s law-abiding congregation of 15 takes the King James Bible literally, lives closely, and takes part in worship ceremonies that include live serpents and drinking lethal poisons. Like with all his projects, had felt the vibes of his subjects, deep — from a California maximum security prison inmates, to bikers, to the Nee-mee-poo tribe on-and-off to the Tamil Tigers in the Civil War. And this video is fascinating.

“A Testimony of Serpent Handling,” Dec 13 (Reception 7pm-9pm) – Dec 23, Milk Studios, Chelsea. Book coming soon.