The Major Arcana as Photographers
copyright © 2019 Joanne Matthew
The budding new photographer is the Fool – just beginning his photographic journey. He has acquired all the tools he believes he needs from the Magician – the digital SLR, the memory card, battery charger, and various lenses. The High Priestess has shared some of her innermost secrets to success with the Fool, advising him on lighting techniques, close-ups, landscapes, and more.
The Empress urges him to photograph the children of the world who are the most vulnerable and in need. The more the public sees, the more help they might receive. The Emperor has taken a stand to protect the children in whatever way possible, and agrees with the Empress.
The Hierophant is what you call “old school” in the way that he can only see straight through the lens. He cannot adapt to digital technology and photo manipulation, but knows that you may develop your own style and techniques.
The Lovers want the Fool to photograph the “couples” in nature – the birds who choose life-long mates, for example. – partnerships such as the bees who carry the pollen from plant to plant, the rain that falls to allow growth, the snows that cover and protect the earth throughout the coldness of winter, and so much more. The Lovers know that alliances in nature are the reason for life, and without them, we may cease to exist.
The Chariot honors the photographer’s ability to take charge of how he photographs what he sees, how he manipulates his views, and what he ultimately shows to the public. Strength may often put the photographer in a dangerous situation, but gives the courage to put aside the fear and continue the mission. This is also in conjunction with the Hermit, who has shone his light on the photographer’s inner soul, thus guiding his vision and ideas every time he pushes the shutter button.
The Wheel of Fortune knows that not every picture will be perfect. Wheel knows that every photographer must sometimes take many shots of the same scene or subject, hoping that one out of all those shots will be the perfect photo to convey his feelings.
Justice tells the Fool to not be so harsh on himself – do not judge yourself by your failures, or by what others think. Be fair to yourself – keep everything in the proper perspective.
The Hanged Man knows what it’s like to feel burned out. When this happens, he tells Fool, take a break, chill out, think about approaching your goals from a different position.
Death, always trying to be a downer, wants the Fool to give up, but perhaps it’s just some new, more advanced equipment that will make all the difference. Fool is advised to put aside the old, outdated software, and learn a new technique.
Always the peacemaker, Temperance wants Fool to stay calm. Keep the dreams and desires in check with reality. If you keep your head in the clouds, know that your feet are still planted firmly on the ground.
The Devil, devious as he is, likes to sabotage the photographer, especially if he knows the photographer has many bad habits – not taking good enough care of the equipment, not having the battery charged at a pivotal moment—-but all this can be avoided, as long as the photographer is aware of his bad habits and strives to avoid them.
Accidents do happen, and the Tower will sometimes cause a lens to fall, or some other tragic pitfall to happen. Often, the photographer will miss the opportunity for that one outstanding photograph, and knows the chance at that one spot, or one subject may never come again. But, Tower tells Fool, there will be other “perfect” subjects, and you will be at the right place, at the right moment.
The Star realizes every photographer’s dream is to become famous – to be recognized for the exceptional talent he/she has with a camera. Keep shooting, keep dreaming – nothing is impossible, and everything is possible.