More than 3,000 species of snakes can be found on our planet, slithering through vastly different ecosystems and exhibiting an extraordinary range of colors, patterns, and sizes. Regarded in myth as guardians of the underworld, cunning spirits, or wielders of magic, they have long been dreaded, revered, and eyed with suspicion by cultures around the globe. German photographer Ben Simon Rehn, who is interested in drawing connections between humans and nature, kindles empathy in a series of expressive serpent portraits.
While Rehn has previously trekked to destinations around the world to capture landscapes and wildlife, these images were taken at a snake refuge close to his home in the Harz Mountains. Capturing the often misunderstood creatures in a range of vivid hues, supple textures, and intense gazes proved a bit of a challenge, as even in captivity, the creatures could be elusive. “It wasn’t very easy to capture the snakes as some of them are really small—it doesn’t seem like it in the pictures—and moved fast,” he tells Colossal. “Also a few are venomous so you have to keep a distance, and a long lens helps here.” Portraying them close-up not only highlights the vivid details of their scales, mouths, and eyes, it also brings us face-to-face with the creatures to engender a different understanding.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You'll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!