Stunning deck published c.1994 by Uitgeverij Focus of Amsterdam, the publisher of “Focus,” a prominent Dutch photography magazine. The deck features the incredible photography of Edland Man, a Dutch photographer working in Milan.
Gunther Anderson describes Man and this deck at his wonderful website:
“Born in Utrech in 1957, Edland Man attended the Minerva Academy of Art in Groningen. He specialized in photography, painting and fashion illustration, and for his final year went to Milan, where various Italian fashion magazines commissioned illustrations from him. After graduating in 1986, Man returned to Milan to establish himself as an illustrator. Within a few years, Man was doing photography assignments, a genre on which he concentrates more each year. Currently, in addition to fashion illustration and photography, his work involves television and video advertisements. He now also lectures at the Rietveld Academy of Art in Amsterdam.
“This particular deck came about as the result of a fashion photography feature published in the Italian magazine Moda. The feature was conceived by art director Marina Fausti, and involved Man creating a number of cards for the project. Man liked the aesthetic effect enough to complete the pack of 53 cards, including the Joker. In this deck, you can see a number of stylistic themes common to many of the cards, and I was pleased to see stylistic similarities between these cards and the other photograph I found (see above). Of course, it's not possible to truly grasp these subtleties with the six cards presented here, and it's difficult enough to see the beauty of the cards themselves in these reduced scans. But unless you happen to find yourself at theGuggenheim Museum in New York City (where I bought this deck), you may find it hard to see the whole thing for yourself.
“First and most obviously, note that each of the compositions mirrors the card itself. The image on each card not only mirrors the shape of the suit symbol, but often mirrors the value itself as well. Note how the dress on the Ace of Hearts is heart shaped itself, how the eight photographs of the model are arrayed in a diamond on the Eight of Diamonds, and even how the model in the Four of Clubs is herself shaped like a four. Even the Jack of Spades approximates the shape of a spade, even as he suggests the form of a J. Many if not all of the photographs can be seen as analogs of the cards they occupy, even down to the clown-painted Joker.
“The red suited cards are all in color, and the black suited cards are all in black and white (the face of the Jack being a small exception). The hearts and diamonds are also much tamer, being much more traditional fashion photography. The spades and clubs, on the other hand, are much more overtly sexual, with many partly-clothed and completely unclothed models, alone and in pairs. Most of the models, as in fashion photography itself, are women. As you can see in the Ten and the Four (and to a lesser extent in the Two), Man is quite aware of the strong sexual nature of fashion photography. Throughout the deck, that tension is explored, along with the sexual roles of men and women in fashion imagery.
“There are a number of lesser motifs as well. Note in the Four and the Jack, the elongated or exaggerated boots. These boots, and the often exaggerated legs leading up to them, show up in several places on the deck, and are created both by the use of pure perspective, as in the Jack, and by graphic and optical effects like the Four. And see in the Two and the Jack the characteristic hand gesture, also seen in the photograph referenced above. In many places, the fingers are exaggerated like the boots. And there are many parallels in the cards not shown as well, in pose, composition, photographic effects, and even hair, which often parallels the characteristic hand gesture.
“In short, this deck is an engaging photographic essay by a master photographer who knows his subject matter acutely well. It's a rewarding work of art I'm proud to have a copy of, and I'm entranced by the levels of parallelism in the images and in what they convey.”
The deck has 52 cards plus 2 Jokers, plus an insert card in English with information about Man. The cards are huge, measuring 208mm x 147mm, and come in the original box.
The cards are “as new,” rarely viewed and never used. The box has shelf wear, and is challenged by the weight of the cards, but is clean and has no structural issues.
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