Ethereal, almost ghostly, as if dancing tango in a dream…

It evokes the “tango trance”, the state of being so profoundly connected to the music, and your partner, that movement flows from within the partnership absent conscious thought…

The onlookers are mesmerized by their performance to Grisha Nishnevich’s guitar…Denver Tango Festival 2006

For me, it seems like the old guy could be an old milonguero, reading the paper whilst sitting outside the El Balcón tango show in San Telmo…

I love the poetic aura of what is not obvious. For most people it’s just a hand of someone seated on a chair. The ones that live, breathe and feel Tango will instantly relate the hand with a story, whose soundtrack is a Biagí’s music… we can “hear” the song just by looking at this diaphanous hand.

I love the capture from above, the lines of the embrace, the organic forms, the circle of life between a man and a woman to the sound of tango.

The SHOOT ‘Spirit of Tango’ Photography Competition welcomes Nicola Selby to the Panel of Judges in 2017. Recognised and published worldwide, Nicola’s work as a fine art photographer shows her passion for finding the movement and expression of dance and is fuelled by many years training as a professional dancer herself. We are delighted to have Nicola join us on this year’s shoot:

 

THE SHOOT

 

What genre or style to you mainly shoot?
In the main I shoot dance photography, this also expands into theatre and live performance work, also due to the nature of my client’s I also photograph headshots. I have a particular fondness of contemporary dance, it’s so free and can be both dynamic and soft.

 

How would you describe your photography style?
My style has evolved over time, initially it was all about the dynamic art of capturing movement but now I concentrate much more on the story and the narrative that reflects the dancers movements.

 

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small village near Southport, in the Northwest of England. I was very lucky to be surrounded by fields and nature. Southport has a wonderful community of young artists which helped shaped the artist I am today.

 

How long have you been a professional photographer?
I will be in my tenth year now.

 

What did you do before you were a professional photographer?
From the age of two I trained as a dancer, then at the age of 18 I was involved in a serious road traffic accident that had a huge impact on my career. After that I changed direction and studied law. I had a successful legal career and enjoyed much success but at the age of 30 I was struck with meningitis. I changed direction again and started to study photography, so its been an eventful journey but has got me to the right place eventually.

 

Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015

 

Whats the best part about being a photographer?
There are so many! I have a little girl who is only three Photography has given me the opportunity to arrange my work around my family life and not the other way around. I meet so many interesting and diverse characters in my job, that every job is different. The dancers constantly inspire me to keep creating new works. One of the most interesting things to come out of photographing dancers is that also get to choreograph pieces of movement, short snippets of time rather that a full piece, but its another dynamic of being a dance photographer, you are not just there to take the photo, you are also there to collaborate and create the overall image.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
I would say a couple of years ago my motivation slipped, babies and sleepless nights can do that to you. Now I am back in full swing and really enjoying my work. I make sure that I don’t take on more than I can handle and do the jobs that are good for me. You need to learn to say no to some jobs, and do the ones that make you feel good about your work, and keep you feeling energised. Im always trying to think of new concepts, but also avoiding the fads of photography and keeping my images timeless.

 

Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015

 

Who or what inspires you in your work?
To begin with Lois Greenfield a dance photographer from New York was a huge inspiration for my work. I wouldn’t say that any particular person or artist now inspires my work, but I get inspiration from everywhere, in fact I have too much inspiration and not enough time!

 

What do you look for behind the lens, that is, what catches your eye and compels you take the shot?
I look for that moment of energy or that spark. The moment the dancer forgets a camera is there and just lets go and moves in the moment without any awareness.

 

What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I use a Canon 5d mk iiii and a Hasselblad h4d32

 

And for editing images?
I work a lot with lightroom. I use a minimal amount of photoshop.

 

Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015

 

What is your favourite accessory, other than your camera?
I love my broncolor para 222. It creates a beautiful light on the dancer.

 

Mac or PC?
Definitely Mac.

 

The hardest part of your job?
I miss working with work colleagues, I meet so many wonderful people in this line of work, but the relationships in the main are fleeting.

 

What piece of kit would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
Broncolor Staro.

 

Tangofolly Shoot Spirit of Tango Photography Competition Judge Nicola Selby
Nicola Selby Studio, 2015

 

If not a photographer what would you have been?
I would have opened a flower shop.

 

Something you’re still learning?
I’m learning all about the business side of photography, taking a photograph is almost the easy part, marketing, working out your value, promoting yourself etc all takes time.

 

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
I would advise to find an area of photography that you love and show a flair for, and stick to it, and really develop your craft. Having a niche can make progress slow to begin with but then you secure longevity in your field by having a true understanding of your subject.

 

What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
Capturing the story and emotion behind the steps.

 

What would you like to get out of the Tangofolly Project?
Being involved with other artists who all share the same passion for photography and dance. A better understanding of tango and its form.

 

Learn more about Nicola Selby via www.nicolaselby.com

The SHOOT ‘Spirit of Tango’ Photography Project welcomes Bob Komar to the Panel of Judges 2017. As a Commercial & Portrait Photographer from London, UK, Bob Komar has been shooting portraiture and related ‘people’ photography since childhood. He has spent 20 years specialising in the automotive industry; cars, bikes, trucks for advertisements, brochures and film (moving imagery).

 

THE SHOOT

 

Where did you grow up?
Hopefully never..London from conception.

 

How long have you been a professional photographer?
All my life..

 

What did you do before you were a professional photographer?
Think I wore short trousers..

 

Bianco Vrcan Tango Dancer
Portraiture, London

 

Whats the best part about being a photographer?
Enjoying the magic.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
The pursuit of self worth… pursuit of knowledge… pursuit of money… pursuit of a hot bath.

 


Commercial, Aston Martin, London

 

Who or what inspires you in your work?
An old grand master.. A fresh engaging face… a soul.. boredom… earth, wind and fire.

 

What do you look for behind the lens, that is, what catches your eye and compels you take the shot?
That magic.. That ‘je ne sais pas’.

 

What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I have catholic tastes in cameras. I did purchase, on leaving college, a ‘brace’ of Leica M3s circa1949/51. The rest can go to a favoured charity. These will go to my single minded identitical twin grandsons who, at present, are a pain in the rear but not without spirit.

 


Portraiture, London

 

What is your favourite accessory, other than your camera?
A vehicle I can sleep in.

 

Mac or PC?
What is a PC?

 

The hardest part of your job?
When the euphoria subsides. When you are offered the job, and then the realisation of how you’re actually going to do it for the stupid price you’ve just agreed to do it for..!

 

What piece of kit would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
If you havent got it, hire it!

 


Portraiture, London

 

If not a photographer what would you have been?
An Architect. A Gardener? But definately… A Football Manager…there…I said it!

 

Something you’re still learning?
How to juggle!

 

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
Dont give up. Buy a suit! You never know. The Queen might ring!

 

drums boy portraiture bob komar
Portraiture, London

 

What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
Not getting average pictures. Because, you control the camera and nothing else. How do you break that rule? And there is the answer…

 

What would you like to get out of the Tangofolly Project?
New faces. New people. New ideas. My favoured dance. And dinner?

I love the strength of the posture of the tanguero, the hard shadows on his face and beard, his arms, everything makes me think of the mythological greek’s archers, but holding a curvy-twisting tanguera with a beautiful back.

I love the wild yet sculptural entanglement of the two bodies. I feel like a mathematical balance felt into place creating a new mythical entity : the Hydra !