The Lovers/ Schattenspiel Tarot
©Linda Dawn Hammond 1996/2003
The LOVERS/ Schattenspiel Tarot
Meanings and Details
VI The Lovers
In some Tarot decks, the Lovers are the identical couple as play the slaves in the Devil card (Or in Schattenspiel, Pan). I found this idea interesting as in the past I have explored as a photographic theme, the bondage that is physical and emotional desire.
I placed the lovers in a contemporary setting which resembles their own milieu- an alternative bar. Although no longer depicted physically enslaved, they are engaged in roles often played out during the course of a relationship. Love sometimes leads to psychological enslavement. The social arena can become a place where battles of domination, false flattery and jealous rivalry are acted out.
The central couple is embracing, but in the background are the same two, arguing and then rejecting one other. These are all facets of what constitutes a real relationship between two people. Although the idealized version of the happy couple is what most people wish to see of the lovers, the truth is that these other elements are also present. In a balanced relationship, one embraces all aspects of the lover. It is another example of accepting the shadow, without which one exists in a relationship of little depth or honesty.
A couple at the time of the photo shoot, they were well chosen to play these dual roles. In life they formed an integral part of the Montreal S/M scene and introduced this world to the alternative scene through performance art. The woman's head is shaved while the man possesses the long tresses. This serves to muddy the gender signals and permits the entry of alternate notions of what constitutes a couple. It is in keeping with my past work on this subject, which had similar objectives. (Physical Addictions)
The couple was photographed in the studio and later added to the background- an interesting bar called Poodles which existed in Montreal in the 80s. It was decorated for an event entitled, "The Rites of Spring", which was quite bachanalian. The beers they are holding are "La Biere des Druides" and "Satan" beer. Pierre also appears in another photographic work of mine, Three Part Bodyseries He owns Black Sun, a body piercing studio in Montreal.
Text and photography: Linda Dawn Hammond
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Linda Dawn Hammond, 2003. The images posted on this site are of lower resolution than the originals.
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