Salem resident Jim Bostick, a local photographer, began creating his own tarot card deck, shooting locals in his Salem home’s photography studio, in 2009. Here he hangs his photographs in In a Pigs Eye on Derby Street in preparation for his show on Sunday, Oct. 12.
WICKED LOCAL PHOTO / WILLIAM J. DOWD
Wicked Local Article
Jim Bostick’s grandmother gave him his first tarot card deck as a Christmas stocking stuffer when he was about 6 years old. The deck’s cards depicted characters of the James Bond 007 movie franchise.
"I started playing the cards, and I still have the deck. I love it," said Bostick, standing on Saturday morning inside In a Pig’s Eye, the Derby Street pub where he curates a monthly revolving door of art exhibitions for owners Jenny and Jon Reardon.
His grandmother’s gift not only sparked a lifelong fascination with tarot cards as a craft of fortune telling and divination but also as individual and collective pieces of artworks that tell stories.
"To me, they are creative things. I look at them as storytelling devices, too, and I think that is how people who read them interpret them," Bostick said. "When they are laying out the cards, they are telling as story."
Bostick, a talented local photographer and Lancaster, Pa. native, began creating his own tarot card deck, shooting locals in his Salem home’s photography studio, in 2009. The ambitious project now years in the making is over two thirds done, with 66 of 78 cards completed.
Recently, Bostick finished all 16 court cards and is displaying blown-up, matted and framed images of them on the walls of In a Pig’s Eye through October.
"I’ve been working the project for a solid five years now, I’ve been jumping around," said Bostick as he set up the show Saturday morning. "I’ve been buying armor for like four years, because I couldn’t afford to buy it all at once."
All of the cards, which one could also consider as group and individual portraits, contain theatrical and old film-stills qualities, brought about through Bostick’s impressive manipulation of light on his subjects.
"I like to refer to them as a little piece of theatre, because each one is center stage, props, costume and actors, and took some effort to put everything together," Bostick said.
Bostick completely photographed in white-and-black, believing color to be frivolous, unnecessary and a hindrance to the art-goer’s interaction with the art pieces.
"I don’t want them not to look like photographs," Bostick says. "You see a lot photographs people try to make look like paintings or illustrations."
He continued, "I love the rawness of photography, and I want to celebrate that."
And this month-long exhibition is as much about the rawness of photography - the art of showing rather than telling - as it is a celebration of people, Bostick said, who he has met since he and his husband, Liam, moved to Salem.
"Jim is a receptive person, well liked open and includes anybody and everybody," said Judy Rudd, who is the subject of Bostick’s darling-of-the-show "Queen of Swords" on display. "He cares about the subject and his artwork."