King of Coins

We shot the King of Coins on the same day as the Queen of Coins, as you may notice by the overlap in the bounteous feast in the photos. They’re similar cards in feel (at least to me), the main difference being that the Queen is internally concerned (abundance and protection of the self, the creative, the home, the fields) where the King is more external (abundance and protection of the kingdom, the era, the land).

King of Coins 1.2

King of Coins 1.2

I often feel as though the King and Queen of Coins are like the less dramatic versions of the Emperor and Empress in the Major Arcana- more so than the royalty of the other suits- primarily because the suit of coins is associated with Earth, and the Emperor and Empress are both (to me) cards of the self writ large- the physical self, the actions thereof, and the world surrounding.

King of Coins 2.3

King of Coins 2.3

I’m not thrilled with how these turned out, but I think they’ll do ok. I do like some of the angles I was able to shoot- it was difficult, because immediately out of the frame on pretty much all sides is furniture and rugs, which I was trying very hard to not get in the frame. I also always try with the Kings to shoot Stephanie from more traditionally “masculine” angles- whether we’re aware of it or not, we tend to shoot women from above, and men from below, which makes women seem smaller and more delicate, and men seem larger and over-leaning. With the Kings, especially since Stephanie is petite, I try to shoot her as large and spaciously as I can. I think that does come across especially in the first shot of this series.

King of Coins 3.3

King of Coins 3.3

Because we were shooting at my house, and on my floor, I had a very difficult time convincing my cats that Stephanie was not, in fact, sitting around waiting to pet them. By the end, it was getting to be more trouble than it was worth to keep Gandalf out of the shots, and I decided it was entirely appropriate to have both a cat and a wizard in the King of Coins, so there he is, looking at the viewer with no little disdain.

King of Coins 4.1

King of Coins 4.1

Check out the full Flickr set here, and all our images plus new interpretations on our website, blackwidowhoney.com. Also, stop by our Facebook site and give us a like!

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Queen of Coins

Queen of Coins 1.2

Queen of Coins 1.2

The Queen of Coins was a fun, and relatively easy shoot, and thank goodness for it. We did have some trouble with costuming, because we’re getting to the point in the cards where we’ve used pretty much everything in both our closets (and some of our friends’) at least once, but Stephanie found this green dress online, and I think it worked out very well.

Queen of Coins 2.2

Queen of Coins 2.2

The Queen of Coins is a card of abundance and wealth and plenty, and we decided to go the literal route, and had a feast. My backyard has vines galore, as does my porch, so we were able to set out a nice spread with greens abounding. With the late summer afternoon sun, I think it really turned out to be a beautiful setting.

Queen of Coins 3.1

Queen of Coins 3.1

I don’t have a lot to say about this card, other than that I’m very pleased with how it came out. I think the editing went well, and I think the poses are good, the lighting was excellent. I’m glad that we saved the suit of coins for last, it feels like a good note on which to have finished the minors.

Queen of Coins 4.2

Queen of Coins 4.2

Check out Stephanie’s blog about this shoot here, or our facebook page here, or our actual live site here! Full flickr set is here as always.

Queen of Coins 5.1

Queen of Coins 5.1

Knight of Coins

Knight of Coins 1.3

Knight of Coins 1.3

The Knight of Coins, like all the knights, was a little difficult to initially decide on how to capture. Knights, to me, anyway, are all about movement- the transmission of information, messages, change in the air. I felt like we captured that very well with the other three knights, actually, but it did take some thought, and this knight, since it’s the knight of coins, of earth, seemed like even more of a stretch.

Knight of Coins 2.3

Knight of Coins 2.3

For this knight, we decided that the idea of motion might best be conveyed through the idea of discovery. The suit of coins or pentacles is all about wealth and prosperity, and so the discovery of unexpected or unlooked for resources seemed appropriate to the theme.

Knight of Coins 3.2

Knight of Coins 3.2

I enjoyed shooting this card, because it was a beautiful day and a beautiful park, and it was nice to just get outside and do something creative. Shooting these last few coins has really driven home for me how bad it is mentally and physically to be stuck in an office all day, every day. I don’t tend to think of myself as “outdoorsy”, but I grew up in the country with space and the outdoors as a matter of fact, and living in an urban environment is hard on me in sneaky ways.

Knight of Coins 4.3

Knight of Coins 4.3

I’m pleased with how this set turned out- they feel very woodlandy, very sort of elf-in-the-trees. Maybe not Tolkien-esque, but definitely like something out of a fairy-tale adventure. You can see what Stephanie thought here, see the full Flickr set here, or check out our website for the whole project here.

Knight of Coins 5.2

Knight of Coins 5.2

Page of Coins

The Page of Coins is probably the most dangerous card we’ve shot in a while, in terms of “the photographer may break her neck” possibilities. As with most of the other “don’t try this at home, kids” shots, this involved me needing to be higher in the air than Stephanie, so that I could shoot down toward her.

Page of Coins 1.3

Page of Coins 1.3

In this case, we wanted to convey a sense of playing and youth, since the pages are typically “younger” cards, but I also wanted to make sure that we could see the ground, since the suit of Coins or Pentacles is traditionally associated with the element of Earth. We hit upon the idea of a jungle gym fairly early on, but
we live in an urban enough area that it was somewhat difficult to hunt one down; finally I remembered this climbing structure in the Ohlone Park near my office, which conveniently also had a second rope climbing structure, so we had options.

Ohlone Park Jungle Gym

Ohlone Park Jungle Gym

It was damp when we shot, which was what truly lent an air of “might injure” to the climbing- I’ve always liked jungle gyms and climbing things, so I had no problem getting to the top and wedging myself in. The more difficult bits were in trying to peer through a viewfinder, tell Stephanie where to move, and lean around while not losing my precarious balance on the slippery metal pipes. It wasn’t a traditional jungle gym, there weren’t a lot of joints to anchor yourself against, just a lot of wet, smooth, metal.

Page of Coins 2.1

Page of Coins 2.1

Nonetheless, they came off fine, and the rope climbing structure was much easier to navigate, and also a lot of fun. This shoot actually reminded me how much I like being active, and how much I hate “adult” forms of exercise (running, the treadmill, etc). It’s exactly the sort of reminder appropriate to this card- I like climbing, I like playing, I like a physical challenge. It’s when I feel obligated or routinized that I begin to resent my own physicality.

Page of Coins 3.3

Page of Coins 3.3

I’m pleased with the photos, overall- the second structure made me really want to shoot Stephanie as Ariadne or some such, because it looked so much like a web. We’ll see if it comes up in any of the Major Arcana, but as of this moment, I can’t think what we’d do with it. Still, it was a good site.

Page of Coins 4.2

Page of Coins 4.2

Check out Stephanie’s take here, or the full Flickr set here, or our actual website itself here.

Ten of Coins

Finally- the Ten of Coins! *sound of trumpets blaring*

Ten of Coins 1.2

Ten of Coins 1.2

The Ten of Coins is the card that made us plow through the rest of the coins in about a month- Stephanie very much wanted to do it around her birthday, and do it with her friend who would be visiting for said birthday in the card. It was a real push to make it happen, but we did! And I do think it adds to the symbolism of the card, to have made that work out.

Ten of Coins 2.2

Ten of Coins 2.2

The Ten of Coins and the Ten of Cups, as I said in my post about the Ten of Cups, are somewhat interchangeable to me- I’m very much an earth sign, so I don’t draw lines between one kind of abundance and another, really. It’s like the old joke about “If you think money can’t buy you happiness, you’re doing it wrong”- sure, money in of itself is emotionally valueless, but you can use it to buy food, and to treat your friends, and to have space where you can have people over, and and and. All good and happy-making things.

Ten of Coins 3.3

Ten of Coins 3.3

For this card, we went the feasting route- we invited a bunch of friends, kind of assuming not everyone would make it, and then when everyone did, we realized we had nine people! Fine, we thought, we’ll just have Stephanie hold two coins, that’ll work, and then a last friend strolled through the door, completely without any foreknowledge of the gathering. Thanks to serendipity, we had ten!

Ten of Coins 4.1

Ten of Coins 4.1

Overall, I’m pleased with this card, though I wish it had been less backlit. I tried to mitigate that in the editing process, but I’m not sure how successful I was. Nonetheless, I think the spirit of the card is good, and everyone looks great. The food was good, fun was had, and all in all, this was one of our nicest shoots, right up there with the Six of Cups.

Ten of Coins 5.2

Ten of Coins 5.2

You can see the full set here, visit us on facebook here, see Stephanie’s blog about this shoot here, or check out our actual website!

Nine of Coins

Nine of Coins 1.3

Nine of Coins 1.3

The Nine of Coins was one of those cards that Stephanie and I did not agree on how to interpret; in this case, pretty much at all. But I think that we succeeded in creating images that allow for either of our interpretations, which is good.

Nine of Coins 2.2

Nine of Coins 2.2

We shot in the Oakland Rose Garden for this, which we’d used before for the Ace of Cups, and it was as beautiful as always. We also went with a sort of medieval-y feel for it, which I think works well. She wore a dress I made years ago, and while not at all historically accurate, it’s pretty, which was the main goal.

Nine of Coins 3.2

Nine of Coins 3.2

To me, the Nine of Coins is a card of wealth and pleasure, but all to be enjoyed within certain limits. It’s the card of the courtesan, of the gilded cage. It can be very enjoyable, sure; there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the luxuries of life, or the creature comforts provided for you. But you should always be aware of the strings attached, and the price that is being paid.

Nine of Coins 4.2

Nine of Coins 4.2

I have two complaints about this card- first, the sun was too bright, and Stephanie’s skin plus the lace on the dress were too pale. In some of the shots it makes for a sort of glaring white blur, which is unfortunate. The other complaint is similar; we were still using the mardi gras coins and my foil coins, and they just picked up a little too much sun. They’re washed out in some of the shots, and it’s hard to tell that they’re coins at all.

Nine of Coins 5.2

Nine of Coins 5.2

All that said, I do think it turned out to be a nice set of images. Very pretty, and with some depth to them, if you look for it. You can read Stephanie’s take here, or visit our website here. Full Flickr set is available as always here.

Nine of Coins 6.3

Nine of Coins 6.3

Four of Coins

Four of Coins 1.2

Four of Coins 1.2

The Four of Coins is a miserly card- whether that is miserliness out of greed, or penny-pinching out of necessity, it denotes a clinging to one’s money and resources (that is not always a healthy thing).

Four of Coins 2.3

Four of Coins 2.3

We hit upon the idea of accounting fairly early- it was something we had considered for the Two of Coins, but ultimately rejected in favor of the more abstract “weighing”- but for this one, the idea of Stephanie with a ledger and a couple of coins seemed like it would get that sense of bean counting across.

Four of Coins 3.2

Four of Coins 3.2

This was again one of the easier cards to shoot, both in theme and in practicality- both Stephanie and I have weathered the recession as young adults, and thus “concern about financial security” is a state of mind we can both slip into easily (if we ever even leave it in the first place).

Four of Coins 4.3

Four of Coins 4.3

For shooting, we aimed to give Stephanie more of a overtly business look; the suit combined with my antique secretary desk went a long way toward conveying a sense not of poverty, but of careful concern. Overall, I think these turned out quite well. My only complaint was that I wish the backdrop were more even. I may have to go through and re-edit down the road.

Four of Coins 5.2

Four of Coins 5.2

See Stephanie’s version of events here, the full Flickr set here, and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and on our Black Widow Honey site!

Three of Coins

Three of Coins 1.1

Three of Coins 1.1

The Three of Coins was a bit of an intellectual challenge for both Stephanie and me during the planning phase of the coins- it’s traditionally a card of skilled labor, or career and profession. Stephanie’s profession, though, involves the internet and computers, and we really struggled to come up with some way to convey that sort of work that would be both engaging, and look like work.

Three of Coins 2.2

Three of Coins 2.2

In the end, we decided to go a different route. Neither of us was wild about trying to photograph Stephanie and her laptop, so we fell instead to craft work. Stephanie is a crafter (as am I), and that made it an easy leap for both of us to think about the skill and labor involved in creating physical objects. Stephanie also happens to own a table loom, and so we dragged it out as our prop du jour.

Three of Coins 3.2

Three of Coins 3.2

I’m not wild about this particular set of photos, but they work well enough. We shot at Stephanie’s house in the evening, and I’m worried that we’ve used this particular backdrop too many times. Also, it was late enough that the lighting wasn’t great. I may put it on my “reshoot if we have time” list, and see if we can’t improve upon it a bit, but we’ll see.

Three of Coins 4.1

Three of Coins 4.1

Stephanie’s account can be found here, as well as the full Flickr set here. Remember too our Black Widow Honey website, and go check out our BWH facebook page, too!

Two of Coins

Two of Coins 1.3

Two of Coins 1.3

The Two of Coins- balance and measurement, especially of financial or material resources. An apt card for both Stephanie and me, perhaps- we’re both old enough now to not be that horrible post-college broke, but we’re still young enough that we don’t have a lot of resources built up. With our economy struggling for the past few years, and living surrounded by Bay Area prices, there’s a real sense that the balance could tip at any moment, and so you’d better weigh those coins carefully.

Two of Coins 2.3

Two of Coins 2.3

I had wanted to find some larger coins, since, though I love my little Mardi Gras coins dearly, they’re really not of an optimal size to show up in photos. You’d be surprised how hard it is to find big costumey coins! There’s the sort of Mardi Gras coin size, and then super-jumbo-torso-sized, and pretty much nothing in the middle.

Two of Coins 3.2

Two of Coins 3.2

I did like using the little postal scale, though- it’s a bit of a literal interpretation of the whole “weighing your resources” idea, perhaps, but I thought it gave that sense of deliberation pretty well. We tried to dress Stephanie a little bit young, but still professional, to lend that sense of someone just starting out in the world.

Two of Coins 4.1

Two of Coins 4.1

I’m really pretty pleased with how these turned out- all of the coins were done in a bit of a rush, so I’m happy that these worked out as well as they did. You can see the full Flickr set here, and Stephanie’s take here. Also, remember that all the photos taken are up on our www.blackwidowhoney.com site, along with additional interpretations and commentary.

Two of Coins 5.1

Two of Coins 5.1

Ace of Coins

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The Ace of Coins very nearly didn’t happen. It became a little bit of a fiasco, to be honest- we were shooting after work one evening, which always involves the lovely coordinating of commutes, and attempts to consume food, etc. In this particular instance, the camera got left at Stephanie’s, and so we wound up shooting on her iPhone4, so that we would at least have something.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8402/8699054744_91bd5e7353_h.jpg

We also had some rather strong disagreements about how to depict this card- I see the Aces as being more about fulness of potential, almost a Platonic ideal, whereas Stephanie reads them more as being beginnings. Thus, I wanted to show a hoard- to me, a great symbol of potential. Stephanie felt that it was confusing to depict more than one coin, however, so we ended up using the jewelry box to imply a hoard as a compromise.

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It’s a shame that we’ll have to reshoot- I think the photos turned out really quite well, in spite of how frazzled we both were. But, of course, being shot on an iPhone 4 means that their quality is not high enough to result in prints or enlargements. So, this one turns into a bit of a practice run, I suppose.

http://farm9.static flicker.com/8401/8699053922_6640e24866_h.jpg

Stephanie’s take is here, as per usual, and you can find the full flickr set here. Don’t forget to check out our website, blackwidowhoney.com, to see all of the shots and read additional commentary!

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