A Belated Happy New Year to All! I hope that 2016 will bring you new ideas and adventures that keep your sense of curiosity piqued, because curiosity fuels vitality. I am very dismayed to realize that I only made one blog-post in 2015. Ever since I had to stop eking out an existence on the margins of society and get a “real job,” it’s been hard to find time for writing. I hope this shocks me into greater productivity in 2016.
That being said, if your curious mind seeks new inspiration, you might want to explore the realm of the “Photographic Unconscious.” This is a term used by the essayist Walter Benjamin, whose attention to the small things of everyday existence reveals ways in which our material world manifests elements of our collective dream worlds. By the same token, the photograph can be a window into the world of the Unconscious, because it can capture image objects that give rise to chains of meaning beyond those perceived and intended by the photographer or the subjects photographed. This is as true for staged photographic compositions as it is for candid snapshots.
At our last magical chat session (which was in November), the subject of the Photographic Unconscious came up in relation to ways you can read a photograph (or other arrangement of images) like a tarot card. When a particular image—whether in a tarot card, a photograph, or whatever interior or exterior scene is before you—strikes you as personally significant, your Unconscious is sending you a signal that this is something you should pay attention to, as carrying special meanings for you. And when you are able to make additional associations between the symbols, you can appreciate what a wonderfully expansive inner life you have.
This concept also gives you a lot to work with if you are a photographer. For a collection of photographic symbols that provokes new insights and associations, take a look at Brandy Eve Allen’s “Invisible Light Tarot Deck,” which is in the end process of development and will by available for purchase by February 1st. You can learn more about this tarot deck, as well as Brandy’s work, at http://brandyeveallen.com/about/, and https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brandolina/invisible-light-tarot-deck-by-brandy-eve-allen.
The images in this collection were generated with infrared photography, and as Allen says, “Similar to the way the tarot cards reveal that which is hidden, infrared film is picking up light that is invisible to the human eye.” Among the photos that I find significant in this respect are those used in the Sun and Hermit cards, because of the stark contrasts between light and shadow. So, all we can make out of the woman in the foreground of The Sun card is her figure in black, suggesting the philosophical observation that the brighter the light, the darker the shadow, (as well as the Jungian concept of the “bright shadow.”) In the Hermit card, the pyramidal structure of the tent is dramatically illuminated, echoing old stories about the hermit as the one who shines a light in the wilderness, to point out the way that leads outward and upward.
Note that Allen also offers new images for the Minor Arcana cards, too, (which is always something to be appreciated), so The Invisible Light Tarot offers 78 compositions to challenge your ability to make new meanings.