CULTURE & ARTS
10/31/2014 08:51 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Photographer Victoria Goldman's Take On The Tarot Deck Is Utterly Bewitching

In the mid-15th century, tarot originated as a pack of playing cards. By the 18th century the cards evolved into mental and spiritual pathways for mystics and occultists. Each card depicts one of 22 major archetypes, each of which bears a special symbolic meaning for those to whom they're dealt.

For 20 years photographer Victoria Goldman has been consumed by the workings of the tarot, both for their beauty and the rich history the cards have acquired. In her newest exhibition "Mythicos Divinare," Goldman creates her own version of the tarot deck, forming a mythology full of mysterious shadows and ethereal women.

emperor
The Emperor

The photos, shot with a vintage Polaroid and film amd a twin lens Rolleiflex camera, offer a hypnotic twist on classical photography. Inspired by Francesca Woodman or Julia Margaret Cameron, Goldman has a knack for balancing softness and darkness, nature and the supernatural. Gold, glittered dresses shimmer like the night sky while darkened branches resemble brittle ghosts.

"I chose to use one main model for this show to speak to the fact that all of the characters that tarot contains are within each one of us," Goldman explained to Robin Rice Gallery. The same subject plays the roles of Lady Luck, the Emperor, the Devil and the World, symbolizing the infinite multiplicity waiting in each of us.

Even without fully understanding the history of the tarot, Goldman's exhibition captures the bewitching spirit of the timeless practice in a contemporary light. The photos, seductive and somewhat haunting, show the undeniable power hidden in this ancient practice.

The exhibition runs until December 14 at Robin Rice Gallery. Enjoy a preview of the Tarot deck below.

  • The Fool
    The Fool
  • The Magician
    The Magician
  • The High Priestess
    The High Priestess
  • The Empress
    The Empress
  • The Hierophant
    The Hierophant
  • The Lovers
    The Lovers
  • The Chariot
    The Chariot
  • Justice
    Justice
  • The Hermit
    The Hermit
  • Wheel of Fortune
    Wheel of Fortune
  • Strength
    Strength
  • The Hanged Man
    The Hanged Man
  • Death
    Death
  • Temperance
    Temperance
  • The Devil
    The Devil
  • The Tower
    The Tower
  • The Star
    The Star
  • The Moon
    The Moon
  • The Sun
    The Sun
  • Judgment
    Judgment
  • The World
    The World
  • Super Star
    Super Star

Correction: An earlier edition of this article misstated that tarot cards were used by occultists since the 15th century. We regret the error.

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Francesca Woodman
CONVERSATIONS