Expressive Snake Portraits by Ben Simon Rehn Capture Serpentine Elegance in Brilliant Hues
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.
You can explore more work by Rehn on his website and Instagram.
Share this story
Stunning Portraits of Madagascar’s Reptiles and Amphibians by Ben Simon Rehn
In December, 2018, Iceland-based photographer Ben Simon Rehn trekked to Madagascar to test a new camera for Olympus. While on assignment, the photographer captured some spectacular images of the lush African island’s wildlife. Striking close-ups of chameleons show the reptiles’ pebbled skin texture and unique coloration, and a portrait of a Sky-Blue Reed Frog shows the amphibian’s shimmering bronze-toned eyes and sleek yellow and blue skin.
Prior to Rehn’s career as a photographer, he was a high performance athlete, which shows in his ambitious location shoots in remote, rugged locations. In addition to his editorial work, Rehn seeks to raise awareness about environmental issues and the impact of mankind on the earth. Follow along with the photographer’s travels on Instagram and Behance and take an in-motion look at the landscapes he explores on Vimeo.
Share this story
A Caiman Wearing a Crown of Butterflies Photographed by Mark Cowan
While traveling through the Amazon to study reptile and amphibian diversity with the Herpetology Division at the University of Michigan, photographer Mark Cowan happened upon a strange sight: a caiman whose head was nearly covered in butterflies. The phenomenon itself isn’t particularly unusual, salt is critical to the survival of many creatures like butterflies and bees who sometimes drink tears from reptiles in regions where the mineral is scarce (we’ve seen the same thing happen with turtles). What made this sight so unusual was seeing the butterflies organize themselves into three different species groups atop the caiman’s head.
Uh, also, that side eye!
Cowan’s photograph received special commendation from the 2016 Royal Society Publishing photography competition, you can see the rest of this year’s finalists here.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.