My grandfather John Wood was one of South Africa’s most prominent reptile experts, snake catchers and snake show-men. Over a period of sixty years he caught thousands of snakes, spiders, scorpions, lizards and frogs for both medical research and the development of snake and spider antivenoms. Wood was a prolific poet, photographer and filmmaker, and shared his great passion for reptiles through these mediums as well as with his traveling snake show, which toured the country from the 1950-70s.
This film was shot by Wood during the 1950ies and 1960ies, before the introduction of television in South Africa. At the time it was the only footage of its kind and was shown in lecture halls across the country. Medical students, doctors, vets, nature conservationists and interested parties watched with fascination. The purpose of the film was to show how snakes were caught and how antivenoms were produced. View it with this in mind.
It is the first time that the film has been seen publicly in over 30 years, and was recently screened at my recent solo exhibition, SNAKE MAN, which was held at SMITH Gallery from 19 November 2015 – 9 January 2016.