Bob's Tarot Deck Number 14 - Review by Michele Jackson

Robert V. O'Neill (Bob), author of Tarot Symbolism, is an avid photographer. By combining his love of photography and his love of tarot, he has created at least 37 tarot decks. I say at least because he has two types of decks - a "small" deck made up of individual photos and a "large" deck where each card is a composite of several photos. The numbered decks are the large variety and the one I have is numbered 14. 

The deck comes in two large binders that are housed in a holder. Each card is made up from several photographs. The Major Arcana generally consist of an 8 1/2 X 10 inch image on one page, with several smaller images on the facing page. The Court cards and Aces are laid out in a similar manner. The two through ten are more varied in presentation. They generally do not have an 8 1/2 X 10 inch image - rather they are made up of varying numbers of smaller images. Each card in the deck consists of two facing pages.

The photography is very good. Most images make use of props, costumes and masks. There are some black and white photographs, but most are color. There are many different special effects used in the photographs as well. But what really makes this deck stand out, in my opinion is the creative way the photographs have been arranged. The photos are held in place by plastic protective sheets of various configurations. They are further embellished by colored and patterned papers used as backgrounds to the photos. Some of the photographs have been embellished with ink and have images collaged onto them. The combinations are well thought out and the overall effect is quite attractive. This deck contains nudity, both male and female, and several of the cards could be called erotic in style. Some cards consist of photographs of body parts - breasts for example. My only criticism of the art is that the models are uniformly attractive in a Barbie doll sort of way. When I brought this to Bob's attention, he explained that because of the costumes, props, etc., he only uses professional models, who tend to be attractive. 

As previously mentioned, Bob has made 37 of these decks so far. Each one contains over 200 photographs and no two are alike. In the course of creating these decks, thousands of photographs have been taken and processed. Bob uses the excess photos not used in the big decks to create 78 card decks. These are packaged in beautiful bags made by Bob's, wife who is a quilter. These decks are more readily available and I got one of these first. While not nearly as creative as the large decks, they might appeal to collectors or those who like photographic decks. Because they consist of just the photographs, without the layouts. backgrounds and embellishments of the larger decks, they seem more erotic in style. Both the large and small decks will appeal to collectors and those who like photographic decks. The smaller version is priced within reach of most collectors. The large deck is very expensive. I am very pleased to have both versions in my collection.

See cards from Bob's Tarot Deck Number 14:

  • Hierophant
  • Tower
  • Page of Wands
  • Four of Pentacles
  • High Priestess (above)
  • Bob's Tarot Decks

    Small Tarot Deck: $50.00 plus shipping and handling
    Large Tarot Deck $1,000.00
    For more information contact Robert V. O'Neill

    Images Copyright Robert V. O'Neill

    Review Copyright 2000 Michele Jackson
    Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes