The Ten of Staves, while not a “death” card like the Ten of Blades, is still a card of an extreme, in this case, over-work. Whether it’s the stress, the physical labor, the long hours, the lack of joy in one’s job, this is the card of being pushed utterly to the end of what you can handle in whatever you Work is. This is traditionally shown as a man struggling to carry a bundle of sticks up a hill- a Sisyphean task of never-ending toil.
In this case, we got rather literal. We had ten staves, and I made Stephanie carry them. And it was rather heavy! We shot at Lake Anza, after trying and failing to find anything “deserty” that we could successfully drive to after work and still have light, but I actually think it turned out quite well. I like the tree roots and leaves for the backdrop a lot.
This was another “now hold still, while I look through the view-finder and make sure I can see every stick!” card, and it was a race against the setting sun to make sure we got the shots. I think there is at least one where it’s a “you just have to trust us, all ten are in the photo” image. I always try to avoid those- if it’s a ten, I want you to be able to count them- but it gets more and more difficult the higher the numbers get.
Gravity was not our friend for this card- the area around Lake Anza is hilly, and no matter how still Stephanie sat, the sticks would inevitably roll away from where I placed them. I think the photos turned out great nonetheless- this is definitely one of my favorite of the Staves cards. I feel as though it really captures the sense of inwardly-focused over-burdenment that we were trying to communicate.
Stephanie’s thoughts on the experience can be found here, and the full Flickr set is here. Remember also our Black Widow Honey website, where you can see our ongoing retrospective of all the cards we’ve shot to date.
And then, when we were done, I climbed a tree. It was glorious.