A photographer has shot a stunning series of photographs of West Virginia snake preachers in their natural habitat.
Serpent preaching is an ancient form of worship, often shunned by modern western society. It is a religious ritual in a small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S., largely found in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the southeast.
Holding aloft deadly rattlesnakes, worshipers sing and holler, seemingly losing themselves in prayer and often overcome by emotion.
Hunter Barnes spent weeks living among the alternative community, winning their trust and gaining access to their most personal and private events.
His photographs capture preachings, baptism and simply family life within the sect in what is a remarkably raw look at the ancient, and often feared, art of serpent preaching.
‘A family of faith who so graciously invited me in,’ Barnes writes in his portfolio description. ‘Said to me of handling serpents, like all true love, the journey is one better felt than told.’