“That’s okay, it’s been my pleasure having your stay. Now I can say I hosted and artist.”
I don’t think this person knew how much these words meant to me. I know I’ve written a little about imposter syndrome before but when I accept gifts or help from others it is always the first voice in my head with the microphone. One I am slowly learning how to turn the volume down on.
Over 6 months ago a wonderful human messaged me about participating in my tarot deck, I responded as I have done with quite a large number now of other cards. “Here’s how the queer tarot deck Im making works and thank you for messaging me – where do you live?”
I’ve never considered myself a professional photographer, I’ve been in front of a camera far more it feels like, than I’ve been behind it. Some of my favourite photos have been pure flukes or magical creations by my camera which I have unconsciously facilitated. Feeling my confidence in myself slowly growing is exciting and a constant reminder of the shadow self that comes up with it.
We email back and forth sporadically many more times over the following few months and I like how this person communicates and writes, telling me a story that maybe one day I can share. We move off email to chat and still barely know who I’m talking to but I’m excited about the thought of meeting them.
A queer tarot photography tour. Well that’s what a real artist would have called it. Visiting different towns and cities and taking pictures of magical queers, capturing their magick amd stories to tell through tarot into the future. That’s what an artist does.
I was “traveling to visit my family, and maybe a small wee day trip out to visit this person”. A day trip turned into a week visit somehow with very little sleep with each overland train ride. I arrived and promptly got food poisoning. “This is not how a professional does it” running through my head as I made friends with the toilet bowl. I’ve never felt more looked after and taken care of by people I barely knew, ever before in my life. Yet it felt like there was part of us that knew each other and had done for lifetimes before.
I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a few of the subjects in my tarot deck. I fell in love with the two most unlikely cards that met each other at one of my tarot card gallery exhibitions and have been seeing each other for a while now. I fell in love with the deep eyes of a wolf that I’ll never understand and tried so hard to capture in a still photo. I fell in love years ago with the wandering bush pirate who saw my vulnerability and openness when I newly out in the queer community and saw it as precious magic not naivety. I fell in love with the devilish seductivity of latex and humans who pursue what excites them and stand actively in their community. I fell in love by a muddy icy river watching excitement and laughter wash over this humans face as they did a photoshoot that might have otherwise been completely out of their comfort zone.
I’ve fallen in love with the bravery of the stories I’ve heard. I’ve fallen in love with the beauty that exists so fiercely outside of society’s standards. I’ve fallen in love with the activism and power with which that queers are making sure their voices are heard.
Falling in love with the art I’ve made is the biggest political statement I have made so far. I accepted the magical task of creating a tarot deck with my artistic skills to facilitate voices being heard, in April 2017. It is teaching me the confidence to say “I am a real artist and these voices must be heard!”
I’ve known a while that this project is so much bigger than me. It is the love, art and voices of all of us making magick together. Even if all you did was “hosted an artist”. You changed my life and made this queer tarot deck possible.