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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

28.02.2020

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Sri Lanka is full of venomous snakes: they lurk under bushes, stray into residential areas. Jan Michalko photographed this cobra and the man who caught it, for his series on the island in the Indian Ocean.

“I met Dilan Max in a bar. He's a snake catcher. He captures the reptiles in people's gardens and then sets them free again out in the wild. Even so, he keeps a couple of them at home. He lives in the outskirts of Kandy, one of the larger inland cities on Sri Lanka. I drove there with him one night, to the small room that he shares with other young men. It was there that he showed me his snakes: a cobra and a python. A couple of days later I came across him again, just when he was putting on a street performance with his two snakes and a little monkey. Dilan Max also works as a snake charmer and likes to transport his animals in a sports bag. On that day we exchanged telephone numbers and arranged to meet a week later. More snake friends came to that meeting, bringing along a total of seven cobras and three pythons! There I was, stuck in a room with ten snakes – it was certainly an unusual feeling. His friends were all very proud of their reptiles and presented them with a lot of r everence. This picture, which is part of the series Life Flashes, was taken on that day.”

Text and picture: © Jan Michalko
Equipment: Leica M10 with Summilux-M 1:1.4/28 Asph.


Find more images by Jan Michalko in LFI magazine 2/2020.
© Nike Wilhelms

Jan Michalko

Having started out as a self-taught photographer, Jan Michalko was chosen to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. He lives and works in Berlin as a freelance photographer, with a primary focus on reportage and documentary photography. His work has been featured in numerous international newspapers and magazines. He is currently working on a series about his travel experiences in India.

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