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Test of Faith: PDN’s Photo of the Day

Lauren Pond at the Rubenstein


Lauren Pond on WUNC’s The State of Things

On November 16, the day of her exhibition opening, artist’s talk, and book signing for Test of Faith: Signs, Serpents, Salvation at Duke’s Rubenstein Library Photography Gallery, Lauren Pond was interviewed on WUNC’s The State of Things. You can listen in as Lauren speaks with host Frank Stasio about Test of Faith here.


Test of Faith Book Launch and Exhibition Opening Is Next Week!

November 16, 2017, 5:30–7:30 p.m.: An opening event at Duke’s Rubenstein LibraryPhotography Gallery for the exhibition Test of Faith: Signs, Serpents, Salvation that includes a reception, artist’s talk, and book signing

In 2016, Lauren Pond was chosen by curator Peter Barberie of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to win the eighth biennial Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for her color series documenting, as Pond writes, “a family of Pentecostal Holiness serpent handlers that I have photographed since 2011.”

Serpent handlers, also known as Signs Followers, hold a literal interpretation of a verse in the New Testament’s Gospel of Mark, which states that, among other abilities, true believers shall be able to ‘take up serpents.’ Despite scores of deaths from snakebites and the closure of numerous churches, there remains a small contingent of serpent handlers devoted to keeping the practice alive.

As well as a first book (published by Duke University Press and the Center for Documentary Studies), the photographer receives a solo exhibition at Duke University’s new Rubenstein Photography Gallery. The photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.

View a gallery of images on the First Book Prize website and read an article about her work, “How Can Journalists Cross Cultural Divides in the Age of Trump?: Getting to Know a Pentecostal Snake Handler Might Provide an Answer,” that appeared in Pacific Standard.


Test of Faith: Exhibition Opening, Book Signing, and Artist’s Talk

Wesley Hogan
Director, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Deborah Jakubs
Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian
and Vice Provost for Library Affairs, Duke University

Cordially invite you to an artist’s talk and reception for
Test of Faith: Signs, Serpents, Salvation
Photographs and text by Lauren Pond
Selected by Peter Barberie to win the 2016 Center for Documentary Studies/
Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

Thursday, November 16, 2017 | 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Rubenstein Photography Gallery and the Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room
Rubenstein Library, Duke University

The exhibition is on view from November 11, 2017–February 4, 2018. The photographs will then be placed in the library’s Archive of Documentary Arts.

Pond’s book, Test of Faith, published in November 2017 by Duke University Press in association with CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies, will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

Click here to see a selection of images from Aunties.


And then there was a jacket . . .