In 2012 I took a step back from full-time engineering consulting and worked a series of jobs in public health. What that meant was that for the next 4 years, I had the honor and the privilege of helping people navigate sex and pleasure and safety and agency and gender and identity and orientation and experimentation and access and confession and discomfort and figuring out what it means for each of us to find our way with – or against – this current that we call ‘culture.’
Congress Street, Free Street, Middle Street, Exchange Street (and for a time in there, Fore Street, India Street). Back and forth. Walking. Watching. Thinking.
I’m also a photographer, which means that one way I process what I’m thinking is with my camera. So, along with walking, watching and thinking, I was also shooting film.
A set of circumstances in and around this period introduced me to the Tarot and got me thinking about the idea of archetypes and where they fit into this flow of culture too. And the question of whether we explain ourselves to ourselves from the inside out or from the outside in. And so walking back and forth to work and thinking about all this, I started shooting the deck.
Two rules –
Congress Street, Free Street, Middle Street, Exchange Street.
The image and its reverse in the same frame. Single exposure. Reflections count.
What do we take in through our psyche, with or without our conscious consent, about how we think about who we are?
22 images here – the Major Arcana. The archetypes of our cultural lives. And maybe you’re thinking the same thing I am – 22 archetypes. Only 22 archetypes. The Hindu pantheon, just as example, has hundreds of gods, each a manifestation of some pouring spark of the divine that is the human spirit. And here we’ve somehow allowed the European canon to reduce that shower to 22 incarnations or manifestations or labelled categories of understanding and experience. 22. As the mathematicians would say – that’s one hell of a step function. I think about that too.
I: The Magician
Shout out here to B&W Photo Lab (http://bwphotolabs.com) in Portland for any and all black & white photo services. If you need film developed or custom printing – any format – or old images restored, they’re fantastic.
II: High Priestess
III: The Empress
IV: The Emperor
V: The Hierophant
VI: The Lovers
VII: The Chariot
IX: The Hermit
X: Wheel of Fortune
XII: The Hanged Man
XV: The Devil
XVI: The Tower
XVII: The Star
XVIII: The Moon
XIX: The Sun
XXI: The World
And, of course, the Series all begins with the number that isn’t a number:
0: The Fool