The Seven of Staves. Like the Five and Seven of Blades, the Five and Seven of Staves have a similar feel to each other, and I think that’s definitely evident if you compare the cards side by side. But where the Five is friendly competition, even if it is in earnest, the Seven has lost that tone of good humor.
In the Seven of Staves, you are under attack. It may not be deadly serious; there are no sharp pointy things swinging about; but you can do plenty of damage with a solid stick. Those attacking are determined, and are not going to be discouraged without serious defense. They are not out to kill you, but they are not fooling around, either.
We shot both the Five and the Seven at the Berkeley Marina, in Cesar Chavez park, though in different spots. I had originally wanted to shoot on the rocks by the water, so that we could have a bit of “king of the mountain” imagery happening, with Stephanie defending the high ground against circling attackers, but it was absolutely freezing and extremely windy, and so we retreated to the south side of the park where it was more sheltered and there were no crashing waves.
We had a couple of the same assistants as we did for the Five, but it actually worked out so that we had a mostly different group, which I was quite pleased by. In a project like this, you eventually start irritating your friends and family with repeated requests to come freeze their butts off while you flail around with a camera. Fortunately, we have a very tolerant and generous bunch of willing victims (thanks to Ryan, Kyle, Sarah, Jack, Juniper, and Yansumi).
Shooting a group is always difficult- is everyone looking the right direction? Is someone mid-word? Who smiles better when they don’t know you’re taking the shot? But of course adding action to it always ups the complexity- they were all very patient with the “ok, now just a turn to the… THERE. DON’T MOVE. ok, now slowly take your stick and hit her…”
And of course the higher the number of the card, the more time I spend going “wait… one, two, three, four… ok, five… six, no, is that the same as five? *sigh* one, two, three, no that’s definitely a different stick, four…”. Also, in order to get everyone in the frame, with seven people, I had to do a lot of “ok, now scoot in close. No, closer. No, we’re talking no social boundaries at all folks, I mean CLOSE” to make sure that I was seeing everyone and everything I needed to see.
All of that aside, however, I think it was a rousing success. I’m very happy with how the photos turned out, and all of our volunteers were real troopers. Stephanie’s take can be found here, and all of images are also available on flickr. Also don’t forget about our Black Widow Honey website where we’re doing a retrospective of all the cards to date!