The Ghetto Tarot interprets traditional tarot cards through the art of photography. The scenes are inspired by the Rider Waite Tarot Deck, designed in 1919 by artist Pamela Colman Smith, and were recreated with a group of Haitian artist, the Atis Rezistans collective, in the ghettos of Haiti. The traditional symbolism of the 78 tarot cards is transformed into timeless codes. “Taking ordinary pictures of the scenes seemed too simple, my aim was to create a very personal deck without losing the spirit of the cards. Therefore I hit on the idea of combining my passions: the spiritual world, the Haitian culture, the philosophical reflections about the dualities in our world and, of course, photography,” says Alice Smeets. The artists of Atis Rezistans had a special part in realizing this project. Not only did they act and model in front of the camera, they also provided and/or constructed the objects needed. Alice Smeets‘ project does not glorify the ghetto, nor does she show the expected image of poverty and despair in the Haitian slums. Instead she presents life in the ghetto in different lights, full of power, life, joy and creativity.
Photo blogger DL Cade, 500px, sums it up perfectly : “The creativity of some photographers astounds me. Just when you think you’ve seen every creative, strange and unique photo idea, another comes along. These fascinating images by award-winning photographer Alice Smeets transform the mysterious cards into real life scenes captured in the ghetto of Haiti.”