Join us for an evening with the author of the book Test of Faith. She will be discussing her journey documenting a family of snake handlers from Bluefield, WV.
Pentecostal serpent handlers, also known as Signs Followers, hold a literal interpretation of a verse in the New Testament’s Gospel of Mark which states that, among other abilities, true believers shall be able to “take up serpents.” For more than a century, members of this uniquely Appalachian religious tradition have handled venomous snakes during their worship services, risking death as evidence of their unwavering faith.
Who are the serpent handlers? What motivates them to continue their potentially lethal practices through the generations? Test of Faith provides a deeply nuanced, personal look at serpent handling that not only invites greater understanding of a religious practice that has long faced derision and criticism; it also serves as a meditation on the photographic process, its ethics, and its capacity to generate empathy.
Test of Faith was published with the generous support of the 2016 Duke Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. *
*Information found at http://www.laurenpondphoto.com/book/