There are a lot of people out there that are afraid of snakes. I don’t blame them—in fact, I’m one of them. I can’t help but shudder at the idea of their cold-blooded, limbless, venomous bodies slithering around my feet. It’s safe to say that Atlanta, Georgia-based photographer Greg DuPree does not share in my phobia—recently, he went on assignment for Garden & Gun to get up close and personal with Eastern Indigo Snakes, a virtually extinct species of dark purple, nonvenomous (thank God!) snakes that used to be common in the southern United States. His photos accompanied a terrific article from legendary writer Padgett Powell about his youthful desire to see, catch and help save the friendly, “gentleman” snakes that he remembered from his childhood. I have to admit, the article made me feel a bit of sympathy for the species, which is found less-and-less in the wild with every year that passes.
After reading the article and researching the snakes, Greg knew that it would be an exciting shoot with a lot of potential to get good shots. The biggest challenge was actually finding the snakes—part of the shoot required Greg to go on a long hunt with snake handlers to find the Indigos in the wild.
You’re basically on a 900-acre hunt and at the mercy of what is occurring around you to get good shots. Once we had snakes the handlers helped me move them around for the opening hero shots. They were pretty docile so me standing right over the top of didn’t seem to bother them at all.
Greg also had to research the back story and figure out what he was getting into with the snakes before he went out there. Getting the right gear and prepping himself to be in chest-deep swamp water for the shoot took up the majority of the prepro.
The article had a great response, but most of Greg’s friends ended up asking if the snakes were real! This was one of the more interesting projects he’s gotten a chance to work on this year, and he hopes to head back there to build it into a bigger promo series.
Check out more of Greg’s work on his website, gregdupree.com.