King of Cups

King of Cups 1.3

King of Cups 1.3

The King of Cups- the Fisher King, the wounded ruler, the compassionate leader so closely tied to his realm that its pains manifest in his very body. The final card in the suit of the psyche and the soul.

King of Cups 2.2

King of Cups 2.2

It seemed straight-forward enough. Somehow dress Stephanie like a king, get by the water, and take some shots. We both liked the idea of a net, we both liked the idea of her with a bandaged or slinged arm. The weather cooperated, and we shot at dusk, catching a view out to the bay that is shockingly devoid of signs of humans. The poses were good, and I’m especially pleased with the net-throwing shot.

King of Cups 3.1

King of Cups 3.1

So why is this one on our potential-reshoot list? Well, because after shooting forty one other photos, one starts to run short on “kingly” wear without getting repetitive. We were trying to avoid duplicating the Knight of Cups too much, but the resulting costume doesn’t work well for either of us. So, we’ll see. It’s on the maybe list.

King of Cups 4.3

King of Cups 4.3

Full flickr set is here, and Stephanie’s take is here. Also don’t forget our actual site, http://www.blackwidowhoney.com, where you can see all the photos from the whole project in one easy location!

Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups 1.1

Queen of Cups 1.1

The Queen of Cups was shot in January, and given that we were both more than a little ill, it was probably one of our least enjoyable shoots. But we were trying to finish off the last of the Cups so that we could get started on the Coins, and so we soldiered onward.

Queen of Cups 2.2

Queen of Cups 2.2

Our original idea had been to have Stephanie stand in a river or stream in front of a bridge, and raising up a glass- sort of a “offerings from the river of the unconscious” idea. We’d found a possible bridge location up in Wildcat Canyon, but when it came time to do it, the thought of hiking in the cold rain was just not an appealing one. Also, standing in cold water in January didn’t seem like the best recovery plan for either of us. Fortunately, there’s a lovely stone bridge on Cal campus, and class was still not in session, so we went ahead and shot there.

Queen of Cups 3.2

Queen of Cups 3.2

We’d wanted a more medieval-ish air for this queen, but unfortunately the best costume we could find and afford at the time was a sort of renaissance-y halloween costume. It looks alright in the photos; the color is nice; but I would have rather something a little more authentic.

Queen of Cups 4.2

Queen of Cups 4.2

All told, I’m actually surprised that the shots turned out as well as they did- I’d rather thought it was going to be a wash. In a lot of the outtakes you can really tell that Stephanie was sick as a dog, and I was also definitely not doing my best work. But the editing process pulled them through enough that they’re not an automatic re-shoot. I still feel like they’re in the “didn’t work to potential” category, so we might end up re-shooting anyway, but we definitely don’t have to.

Queen of Cups 5.1

Queen of Cups 5.1

The full flickr set is here, and Stephanie’s blog is here. And don’t forget the blackwidowhoney site, where you can see all the cards with additional interpretive blogs from both of us.

Knight of Cups

The Knight of Cups is a youthful spirit, questing after matters of the soul and questions of the heart. This is the seeker of dreams, of visions, of the Holy Grail.

Knight of Cups 1.1

Knight of Cups 1.1

For this card we agreed that it would be ideal to shoot on a body of water- fortunately for us, the East Bay has quite a few little lakes and ponds, so we made grabbed a Sunday afternoon and headed down to Lake Chabot.

Knight of Cups 2.1

Knight of Cups 2.1

We rented two rowboats, and with me rowing one, and my valiant husband rowing the other, we made our way to the middle of the lake. There was a fair amount of clambering about so that I could get some different angles, but it worked out well. I know it made Stephanie a little nervous!

Knight of Cups 3.2

Knight of Cups 3.2

The only incident came when one of my oars broke in the middle of the lake; fortunately for me, though, I grew up canoeing and row-boating, and I also come from a long line of sturdy peasant ancestors, so I was able to get around pretty well with my one oar. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but it was great fun.

Knight of Cups 4.2

Knight of Cups 4.2

It was a beautiful day, we had a great time, and the pictures turned out well. Clearly the lesson here is “get out more”. Full flickr set can be found here, and Steph’s run down is here. Don’t forget our actual site for this project is blackwidowhoney.com, where you can see all the cards and read our interpretations of them.

Knight of Cups 5.3

Knight of Cups 5.3

Page of Cups

Looking at the images for the Page of Cups just breaks my heart- it’s beautiful, one of our best shoots, and… it has to be redone. *cries quietly into a hankie*

Page of Cups 1.2

Page of Cups 1.2

It was a somewhat difficult shoot- we knew we wanted to have the image be entirely Stephanie in the water, and since it was… November? something like that…we couldn’t just go shove her in the Bay, or the nearest pond. Fortunately, we have a friend with a hot tub, and so we popped over to her house and slid in.

Thus began the problems. Stephanie apparently has great physical instincts when it comes to things like intentionally keeping herself underwater, which, while excellent for her overall survival, was making shooting a challenge. I was trying really hard to keep all of the edges of the hot tub out of the frame, because hot tubs do not a pretty picture make, but she couldn’t not flail out to grab something to keep from sinking. Also, she floats. A lot.

Page of Cups 2.1

Page of Cups 2.1

Finally, we got our hot-tub-owning friend to get in with Steph, and pin her legs down so she wasn’t floating all over while I tried to frame shots, which helped. This shoot also definitely falls into the “Oh No, I’m Completely Fine, I’ve Got Great Balance, I’m Totally Not Going to Fall ” group of photos, along with the Ace of Wands, the Ace of Cups, the King of Wands, and a couple of the Seven of Blades. Kids, don’t try this at home.

We finished up, fished Stephanie out of the tub (more than a little over-cooked, poor thing), and realized… we’d forgotten the cup. It kills me every time I see them, because I genuinely think that they’re some of the best photos we’ve done in the whole project, but… we’ll have to do it again. *weeps softly*

Page of Cups 3.3

Page of Cups 3.3

Here’s hoping lightning strikes twice.

See the full set here on Flickr, and check out Stephanie’s take here. And don’t forget to follow along on our blackwidowhoney.com site, where you can see all the shots in one place, plus our own card interpretations!

Ten of Cups

To me, the Ten of Cups and the Ten of Coins are fairly interchangeable; this became a bit of a frustration to Stephanie as I asked for the millionth time “now… what are we doing for this one again? is this the feasting one, or the eating one?”

Ten of Cups 1.2

Ten of Cups 1.2

The Ten of Cups is a card of emotional abundance vs the Ten of Coins, which is a card of more physical abundance; to me, as an earth sign, these are much the same thing. And even in the traditional depictions, there is definitely overlap- food, family, fecundity, and fortune are all things that we as humans associate with “abundance”, and the difference between these two cards is really just about where you want to draw that line.

Ten of Cups 2.2

Ten of Cups 2.2

For this card, we erred on the side of depicting a family- my ever-so-affable husband, whom people often mistake for Stephanie’s brother anyway, and my dear friend Margo, who happened to be visiting, and who also happened to fit in with the “British Isles Dark” theme we had already going, graciously agreed to eat a tasty lunch and be photographed. I actually love some things about this card- I think they really do all look like siblings or cousins, and you can tell that everyone was having a good time. That said, it has its problems- I worry that it’s too similar to the Nine of Cups, because of the backdrop, and I don’t like the editing I did. It will definitely have to go on the re-edit list, I think.

Ten of Cups 3.2

Ten of Cups 3.2

You can see Stephanie’s take on the card here, and the full Flickr set here. Also, don’t forget that you can see all of the cards, as well as some mini-blogs about them, at our full Black Widow Honey website.

Eight of Cups

A figure walks away from the viewer, back turned against the eight cups standing in the foreground. Some are upright, some have fallen, but all are ignored by the subject as they walk off into the distance.

Eight of Cups 1.2

Eight of Cups 1.2

The Eight of Cups is a melancholy card; it’s that moment when the growth you’ve been really wanting to not have takes root, and you move on from your old ways of being. Or that moment when you finally overcome a struggle, only to realize that your destination is not the laurels of victory, but the road ahead. It’s not necessarily nostalgia, because you realize you could not have stayed where you were; you likely don’t even really want to have stayed there. But it was good, or at least familiar, while it lasted, and that mountain ahead is a little forbidding, even if the trail is clear and the call to climb is strong.

Eight of Cups 2.1

Eight of Cups 2.1

This was another card where I knew exactly what I wanted to show, and how I wanted to show it, and fortunately for me, the universe conspired to give us a lovely sunset with just the lighting I wanted. We shot these at Crab Cove, on Alameda- I was a little worried at first that it would be too similar to the Two of Blades, what with it being a woman on an Alameda beach looking out to sea, but it worked out fine- the lighting and posing are very different, and the tide was out, so we had all this lovely sea cabbage to wade through (thankfully not nearly as disgusting to step on as it looked).

Eight of Cups 3.2

Eight of Cups 3.2

I’m very pleased with these cards- Stephanie is always fond of the suit of cups because they’re pretty, and I’m always saying that I value “interesting” over “pretty”, but the Eight, like the Seven, I think hits that balance of being lovely, while also being an interesting and engaging image. It also was one of those cards that came at kind of just the right time for both of us- we were moving on physically (we both moved house within six weeks of each other) and on some personal levels too. To bigger and better things, always, but not without a little sad fondness for what was before.

Eight of Cups 4.2

Eight of Cups 4.2

You can see Stephanie’s take on this shoot here, and the full Flickr gallery here.

Seven of Cups

Seven of Cups 1.3

Seven of Cups 1.3

The seven of cups- beautiful illusions. The lustrous visions of hopes and dreams, the siren song of possibility. The haze of what-might-have-been, what-could-be, if-only… The enchantments of pipe dreams, the distraction of the mirage, the lurid obsession of the vision.

Seven of Cups 2.1

Seven of Cups 2.1

The seven was a card where I immediately knew how it should look- fortunately for me, Stephanie was perfectly willing to go along with it. The thing about dreams and hopes and illusions is that they are lovely, and attractive. They draw you in, making you look more closely, losing yourself in the surreality. I wanted to make sure and capture this, and so I knew it needed to be both a pretty card, but also unusual.

Seven of Cups 3.3

Seven of Cups 3.3

As we get into the higher numbers of a suit, I’m always struggling to continue making the cards unique, and this was especially true with the cups. There are a number of things you can do with sticks and pointy bits of metal, but cups… it gets harder. For this, though, I knew I wanted very pretty glasses, and I wanted them suspended upside down. It wasn’t all that difficult to achieve- Stephanie hunted down seven thrift store glasses, and I strung them with ribbon to a frame constructed out of sticks and cat-jungle-gym-pieces. What you can’t see in the shots is my husband Kyle very gamely suspending the whole contraption over Stephanie while managing to keep himself entirely out of the shot. Thanks, sweetie!

Seven of Cups 4.4

Seven of Cups 4.4

I love these pictures- the light was perfect, and I feel like they captured the air of wistful illusion really well. Tragically, just about the second after I had taken the last shot, Kyle lowered the suspension and a piece slipped, letting the glasses fall. I think three of the seven survived. On the one hand, it’s kind of entirely appropriate for this card- dreams are both possibility and delusion; on the other hand, I still feel terrible about it.

Seven of Cups 5.3

Seven of Cups 5.3

Stephanie’s story is here, and the full Flickr set is here.

Six of Cups

The Six- nostalgia, longing for the “good old days”, the remembrance of a golden age; but not in a delusional sense- these were good times that really happened, moments shared and enjoyed, time well spent with good company. Whether we look back with fondness or with longing, the six is that lovely light-edged time that we hold up in our memories as when life was beautiful.

Six of Cups 1.2

Six of Cups 1.2

As always, the more people involved, and the more props involved, the more fiddly these shoots get. We decided to have a picnic as the staging for this, and recruited a few repeat victims friends and a few new cast members who were willing to dress up and lounge around in a park eating delicacies in the sun. (Sometimes our extras suffer. Other times, it’s really not so bad.)

Six of Cups 2.2

Six of Cups 2.2

It was really the perfect day- warm, sunny, late afternoon in a park in Alameda. Everyone looked great, and was happy enough to pause occasionally in the munching of the delightful repast to lift their tea cups and smile.

Six of Cups 3.2

Six of Cups 3.2

I’m quite happy with how these turned out, over all. They have that dreamy, ethereal quality that seems to be turning up a lot in the cups as we go. I do wish, as I always do with group shots, that there were just a few more with everyone looking the right way/not blinking/not chewing/what have you, but, so it goes. Being very picky with photos of myself, I refuse to edit photos where I think someone else looks bad, even if they’re an “extra”.

Six of Cups 4.2

Six of Cups 4.2

Stephanie’s take is here, and the full Flickr set is here as always.

Five of Cups

Five of Cups 1.2

Five of Cups 1.2

Five glasses, three standing, but two tipped over, and their contents spilled.

The Five of Cups is a mixed bag, to be sure. Not all is well; there is the loss of the spilled cups. But the majority are still standing, and wait in reserve. The loss is minor, in the long run, however large or disappointing it may seem when all you can see are the cups on their sides.

Five of Cups 2.3

Five of Cups 2.3

I wanted a little bit of a medieval vibe for this shoot- I had felt like we’d done a fair number of somewhat more contemporary style shots, and the cups feel, out of all the suits, like they should be the most fantastical (to me, anyway). The dress we used is contemporary (and actually one of my high school homecoming dresses, circa 1997, hah), but the setting we found I think lends it a very medieval/renaissanceΒ sense.

Five of Cups 3.3

Five of Cups 3.3

The area where we shot is in Berkeley, very close to the GTU where I did my masters, so I was somewhat familiar with it. It was a lovely hot day in August when we trespassed on those lovely folks’ driveways and stairs, but fortunately we never saw a soul. My mother happened to be in town, and very kindly came along to be our props wrangler. Thanks, mom!

Five of Cups 4.1

Five of Cups 4.1

Stephanie’s take on the shoot is here, and full Flickr gallery is here, as per usual.

Four of Cups

Four of Cups 1.2

Four of Cups 1.2

The Four of Cups… is probably the closest thing we’ve had to a failure yet. It’s on our list to re-shoot, even though it always hurts a little to do that. (The perfectionist in me hates to admit that it needs to happen, and the artist in me hates to disown any of my creations.) But… it will happen.

Part of the problem was that we never could agree on how to portray it, and it shows- one of us is in favor of the subject looking at the three glasses and ignoring the one, the other of us thinks it should be the other way around. We couldn’t sort it out, and so agreed to shoot both, and just see what we thought of the results, but I think the lack of clarity shows in the images.

Four of Cups 2.1

Four of Cups 2.1

We also shot it in a hurry, when we were both busy with many other things, and trying to get a lot of shoots in. We didn’t find a good location, so we shot on my coffee table, and covered my couch with a blanket, which ended up looking dreadful in the background. The cups are pretty, and we may reuse them, but clearly the rest of it needs to be reconsidered.

It’s too bad, but sometimes that’s just how it goes, I guess. Just goes to show that you can never afford to do something halfway- you’ll just end up having to re-do it later.

Four of Cups 3.1

Four of Cups 3.1

Stephanie’s take is here, and the full Flickr set can be found here as always.