WPY 2019

Photograph Details

Highly Commended 2019

Wildlife Photojournalism

Jo-Anne McArthur, Canada

The Wall of Shame

Pinned to a wall are the skins of two rattlesnakes. Surrounding each one are signed bloody handprints, triumphant marks of those who skinned a snake at the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup in Texas. What Jo-Anne finds most unsettling about this image is that ‘so many of the bloodied handprints are those of children’.

Each year tens of thousands of rattlesnakes are captured for the festival, where they are decapitated and people can pay to skin them. Festival supporters claim it is important to control the population. But campaigners against roundups argue it is cruel and puts rattlesnakes’ long-term survival at risk.

Technical specification

Nikon D800 + 17–35mm f2.8 lens; 1/250 sec at f3.2 (+0.3 e/v); ISO 2000


Sweetwater, Texas, USA: latitude 32.468082, longitude -100.40726 Sweetwater, Texas, USA: latitude 32.468082, longitude -100.40726

Sweetwater, Texas, USA

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Jo-Anne McArthur

Jo-Anne McArthur, Canada

Jo-Anne is a photographer, author and speaker. She has documented our relationship with animals for the last fifteen years through her long-term body of work, We Animals. She was the subject of the 2013 documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine and is the author of two books, We Animals and Captive. She also co-founded the Unbound Project, celebrating women animal advocates worldwide.

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