Jack O’Diamonds vs Deck of Cards

I adore photography-related projects and try to join in with as many as possible. One project that I enjoy taking part in every week is The Teleidoscope. The Teleidoscope group is a 52 week community project which is organised into weekly themes: each week, the photographers are given the same theme and are asked to interpret the theme in their own way and then share the resulting image with the rest of the group. I’ve found some of my favourite photographers through the group and find it an endless source of inspiration through both the themes and photographers themselves!


The theme for week 38 was Deck of Cards. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is that playing cards will be involved in some way, whether using them as a prop or recreating them in some way… I considered doing face paint ‘in the style of’ playing cards, but decided against it. As such, I’m really glad I was staying at my ma’s the week of this theme as we don’t actually have a plain set of cards at our place at the moment! I got my ma to hunt out a pack of cards before she went away for the week, and she left them on the scanner by the computer desk…


As you may be aware, I’m a big fan of scanography. It didn’t take a huge leap for me to see the cards sitting on the scanner and decide that I wanted to do a scanograph for my submission that week!


Scanography can be a bit hit and miss, when it comes to self-portraiture: when using props, it takes a fair bit of delicate positioning and trying to re-do a particular pose can be amazingly difficult! Due to this, I often try my best to ‘take’ a few similars in a row before checking the results on the PC monitor. This leads to some rather fantastic and unbelievable out-takes, frustration at small details (my most common is breathing on the glass!) as well as joy at having ‘taken’ something I’m really proud of.


For this particular theme, I’d decided to use the jack of diamonds as the focus. One of the tracks on the first album by my favourite band (Fairport Convention) is called Jack O’Diamonds and I rather adore it! (For those interested, the lyrics were written by Bob Dylan, and are based on a traditional Texas gambling song.) My first scan was of the jack of diamonds and nothing else (checking the scanner was working/there were no odd settings in use) and the second I placed my fingers on the glass and got ready to move my face into one of my rehearsed ‘scan poses’ but only got as far as dangling my hair over the scanner before it scanned. Whilst I took at least 25 more scans, guess which one I ended up using as my submission to The Teleidoscope?



Yes. It was the one that I didn’t mean to ‘take’.


It’s often the way that my self-portraits work and it’s one of the reasons that I always take more than one photo: there’s always going to be the time when that weird pose or peculiar angle is the one that is the best at the end of the shoot. It’s also one of the reasons that I try not to delete photographs in-camera: I often have a different reaction to photographs when they’re on my monitor. The photograph I loved in camera is the one I hate; the photograph that looked awful is now my favourite… Such is life.


I had a miniature dilemma about using an image with a single card to represent multiple cards, as per the theme, but interpretation won-out.



If you’re interested in seeing my other submissions for The Teleidoscope then please click here for year 1 and click here for year 2.


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