I have had a lot of requests to share some of the fun, interesting and unusual stories behind the images in my cards. As an answer to this I have decided to blog now and again about the “behind the scenes” of the making of Mystic.

Today I am focusing on the “I am Strength” Card and her story.

When the inspiration came in April 2012 to make an Empowerment Deck, using the versatile and creative images from a series I had called Mystic that I had captured over the years, I recalled this image the moment I wrote “I am Strength” on the list of potential cards.

The posture and piercing gaze along with the contrast of the vibrant clothing against the monochromatic background simply spoke power and steadfastness to me.  The symbolic aspect of the woman exposed to the elements and seemingly unaffected by it added to power of this image as the strength card. The more I studied how this image made me feel and what I could read from it the more sure I became that I was making the right choice.

This decision made, the words came easy for both the card front and the write-up.  I am delighted in knowing that this image and card proved very inspiring to many who participated in the testing of the work before the final stages. But what inspired the image in the first place before I even knew she would be used in the Mystic Bliss Empowerment Deck series?

Initially, the image for the strength card was created when I was looking to work in collaboration with a man who wanted me capture images for his Tarot project. I was doing research in the various cards in preparation for this and found myself drawn strongly to the Empress card.

I thought it wise to practice the symbolic content that I knew would be vital to successfully creating images for his series and chose to do a trial run.

Admittedly my desire to start creating again for my, somewhat dormant at the time,  Mystic series had been revived about that time as well so it felt natural to create this image.

The model was an easy choice. I had used Julie prior as a model because she was so amazing to photograph and as an aspiring photographer she understood the conceptual reason behind creative work (even if it meant being captured outside in the winter). The costume was created by manipulating an existing Halloween costume from a second hand shop, adding the detailing and cape like item fashioned out of a single unsewn piece of fabric gathered and belted to give it shape.

The location was the river near my old studio which lent itself so well that frosty day. The misty effect in the background was really what was happening that day and only required light adjustments in post-production to get the full desired magical effect by desaturation of some of the excess colour. All the elements were already there and I could not have planned it better.

The proposed tarot project never actualized fully so this image, although enjoying a rather short lived exposure as part of a web site gallery in Mystic’s “Back to the Mystic” phase, sat with no direction for a very long while. This was unfortunately the case for many amazing images captured over the years and archived waiting to be remembered and appreciated. However it is this very archive of images that formed the base for this deck. Everything for a reason.