New Guinea Snake Charmer

One of this images has been selected by The Smithsonian as the picture of the day on November 18 2016. Visit the link: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/photo-of-the-day/2016-11-18/new-guineas-snake-charmer-1/?ordering=-uploaded_at&filters= New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, houses roughly 4,642 vertebrate species. The island of New Guinea has numerous species of reptiles; this unique species of python is only found on the Island of New Guinea, at an elevation of 6500-8500ft above sea level. Boelen’s pythons are cloud forest residents and have been sited from the Vogelkop Peninsula (Birds head region) all the way to the east of Papua New Guinea (PNG). These snakes are presumed to follow the mountainous spine of the Maoke Mountains, which is composed of the Sudirman and the Jayawijaya range. The original holotype specimen was found in an area named Dimija, on December 25, 1952. Interestingly, this species of snake receives as high protection as that of the bird of paradise in PNG. Throughout New Guinea, this snake is highly revered by the indigenous tribes and is referred to by many names such as “Blu Moran” or “Papa Graun Moran” in PNG. In my personal opinion, I can honestly say that I have never been in the presence of a more beautiful snake than this in my life, and I have seen hundreds of snakes before. I have always been an admirer of makeup artists and body painters, and this was the opportunity I was looking for to incorporate this kind of art into my images. Going through body painter websites, I found incredibly beautiful work from many artists, but my favorite of all was the work of Tash Kouri. Tash Kouri is an American body painter and performance artist living in New York City. She represented the United States at the 2012 World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria. I called her and she was very excited by this unusual project. We had several conversations about how to incorporate the skeleton dance makeup into the photo shoot, and came up with the idea of mirroring the snake’s skin on Evan. The makeup process was very meticulous. After 5 hours and several layers of air brush paint, we were ready to start taking pictures.

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