Ghetto Tarot – A Photographer Re-Interprets The Traditional Deck. Beautifully.

Alice Smeets Ghetto Tarot

Belgian photographer Alice Smeets decided to create her own interpretation of a Tarot Deck using her own photos. Combining three of her passions; the spiritual world, the Haitian culture and its people, and her philosophical take on the duality between the rich and the poor, Alice came up with Ghetto Tarot.

Alice Smeets Ghetto Tarot


The filmmaker, artist and teacher’s documentary photos from Haiti are fairly well known. Smeets is the recipient of several awards including the Unicef Photo of the Year Award 2008. As a regular visitor to Haiti (and a resident there for 2 years), the complexity and spirituality of Haiti have always intrigued the photographer, who is shown below.

The Ghetto Tarot is a photographic interpretation of the Rider Waite Tarot Deck, originally designed in 1909 by artist Pamela Colman Smith.


above: The original Rider Waite Tarot Deck, available here

To execute this very personal project, Smeets enlisted a group of Haitian artists called Atis Rezistans (shown below) who receive 20% of the profits from the project.

She took photos in the ghetto of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince illustrating the spirits and meanings of the cards with a touch of humor. Shooting in the Haitian slums using local materials, the local artists’ art and symbolism from the Voodoo religion, her Ghetto Tarot show colored people for the first time on the traditionally old European cards.

The results are beautiful, see for yourself.














According to her facebook page, Alice is working with Yannick Dubois and exploring the following designs for the back sides of the cards:

Smeets is requesting funding on her second Indiegogo campaign to help produce the deck. With almost 2 months left and a low goal of only $3000, I suspect she will.

The following video created for Indiegogo was directed and produced by Romel Jean Pierre with camera work and editing by Jon Kaufman.

Alice also recently produced a documentary, AIDependence, demonstrating the negative influence of the aid industry on the Haitian population, using Haiti as a representation for the happenings in many developing countries.

Alice Smeets

information and images courtesy of the photographer and her Facebook page. Story brought to my attention by The Guardian

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