Mark Laita has found a way of revealing beauty when the eye of the beholder is programmed to stimulate fear. When these normally camouflaged snakes are photographed under bright lights against a black background, they show dramatic patterns and vivid colours. The pictures are recently published by HN Abrams in a book called Serpentine.
Away from their familiar environments, the reptiles show unfamiliar features. It is as though the subject has become the object. Its innate beauty takes over from the fear of external threat.
Laita quotes the early twentieth century German poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that needs our love.”
The alligator would find that difficult.