Photographing this snake was probably the stupidest thing I've ever done. I met a young man in Florida whose hobby was venomous snakes. When he told me what he had, of course I wanted to photograph them. I followed him to his apartment, and in his walk-in closest, in large terraria, he had many of the world's deadliest snakes. First I photographed this Gabon viper, but he wouldn't take it outside because if it escaped, it would eventually kill someone. So, using a waist-level medium format film camera (this was in the 90s), I shot the snake on the carpet of his bedroom. I leaned over the reptile with my camera, shooting straight downward and trying to keep my feet as far as possible away from the snake. That meant my shoes were about 12 to 14 inches from the flickering tongue. Every time the large head came close to my toes, my new friend would gently prod the snake away with a metal rod and hook. When I returned home, I went online to find the Latin name of the viper and came upon an article that described a woman in California who worked at the Los Angeles Zoo and kept venomous snakes. She had a Gabon viper, was bitten by her dangerous pet, and after calling 911, she died before help came.
I scanned the transparency with an Imacon scanner and then replaced the original carpet background with cracked mud from the Namib Desert in Namibia.