Perhaps the best judge of Tango Photography are those who dance it! If we are judging an image by the emotion it presents who else is better qualified than those who know those particular emotions intimately? The SHOOT therefore includes a third, final and very important judge by way of a voting system called ‘The People’s Choice’.


Throughout the competition, members and public viewers, everyone in fact, may visit the SHOOT, view all entries and vote for their favourite images. During this time, entry owners remain anonymous, that is, the photographer’s name is withheld. The image with the most votes at competition closing will be granted the ‘SHOOT! People’s Choice Award 2017’. The winner will be announced after the competition closing date along with all other competition award winners.


Choose images that you think best describe ‘The Spirit of Tango’ and what tango really means to you. Choose images that ‘touch’ you, that give you something meaningful when you look at them. You do not need to be a professional judge to be moved by an excellent photograph. Trust your instinct.


At any time during the competition.




Simply browse the image entry gallery to see all entries so far. Click the ‘Facebook Like’ button to submit your vote for as many images as you like. During the competition entrants may continue to enter new images so do return to look out for these!

Happy Voting!

The SHOOT International Tango Photography competition sets the challenge to amateur and professional photographers all over the world to find their personal interpretation of ‘The Spirit of Tango’. The judging panel are looking for one beautiful, technically excellent, truly original and creative image that portrays what we all know very well is an intangible, completely unnattainable ‘thing’ that can never be perfectly captured with words or by even watching the dance itself. Equally, is there just one ‘thing’…? So… where to begin? What images to enter?

Here are some tips:

Remember that the winning image must achieve two things; it must portray the photographer’s interpretation of ‘The Spirit of Tango’ and it must be deemed by the judges as an excellent example of photographic imagery. A wonderful image of, for example, people riding bicycles to a milonga in Amsterdam, is NOT an image of ‘Tango’ unless it can definitely be perceived by looking at the image that the people are in fact tango dancers riding bicycles to a milonga.

Read the competititon » Terms of Entry to ensure your image fits the criteria and is not disqualified. The terms are important because they make certain the competition is fair to all participants. It would be such a shame to disqualify any image because the photographer neglected an important detail.

The SHOOT introduces the panel of judges with a series of interviews and examples of published work. All of the judges are professional photographers forging successful careers in their own genres. Some dance tango, some do not. Others are journalists, editors or similar with years of experience in linked industries. Consider the judging panel. How do you think they will view your images collectively?

Look back at the » Previous Finalists. The judging panel is different this year so it won’t help you to copy them but just browsing through the images that did well will give you an indication of the kind of benchmark that has been set and be inspired.

It is true, the judges are all 100% human so make your images ‘connect’ with them in some way. Imagine that they will spend hours considering, sorting, debating and filtering all the images to find ‘the one’. Stand out from the crowd! Choose images that are compelling and evoke an emotion. Use striking colors, unusual and strong compositions, play with light and shadow, movement or stillness. Aim to make the judges stop and look again. The judges kept coming back to look at » Philippe’s Winning Photo too many times to remember. They debated it for hours, pulled apart every pixel, compared it to every other image, left it alone and kept returning to look at it one more time.

Join in and be proud of what you submit. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or have fancy equipment. Use your phone, an old manual camera or anything else. The SHOOT is about celebrating our passion for tango, sharing ideas, being inspired and above all recognising and appreciating the talent and skill it takes to shoot Tango well.

Elzbieta Petryka is a Tango Photographer from Warsaw, Poland. The basis of her photography is reportage photography.

Where did you grow up?
In Warsaw. I have never lived in any other place.

How would you describe your style?
When shooting I focus on capturing a beautiful piece of tango reality. I never create the scene. But for me, the reality of the picture is just an intermediate product. At the post processing stage I’m trying to create or increase the painterly feeling of the photo. For me it brings out the beauty of the moment even more. I would describe my style as ‘painterly tango poetry’ My first choice is always color photography. I am converting images to black and white only if I do not like the color version. I shoot at the milongas, but most of my images are portraits of individual couples. I try to capture the intimacy of the dance. After all, each couple is a distinct universe. That’s why I like single spotlights on the milongas, ones that bring only a single pair out of the darkness. I like strong contrasts between light and dark. Regarding composition, I try to adhere to the “old school” rules.

What do you do when you are not taking pictures?
I dance. When I do not dance, I earn a living by improving business processes.

elzbieta petryka, warsaw, tango photographer
‘Milonga El Infierno (The Hell) in Cracow, Poland’ – For me this is an example of how poor lighting conditions can be used in favor of interesting visual effect.


Why did you start doing tango photography?
Being part of the tango community changes people. People become more open to their inner creativity. Under the banner of tango, people begin to pursue other passions that they lost in everyday life.  Some are returning to singing or playing instruments, some find themselves as the organizers of tango events. So it was with me. As a teenager, I painted pictures. Now, after two years of dancing and watching dancing people, I felt the need to capture the captivating beauty of tango. One day, about a year ago, I just took the camera and started to take photos.

Why do you love being a photographer?
The fact that I can show people how beautiful they are.

What was your first camera?
Panasonic Lumix DMC LX7. This is a compact camera with a bright lens. I highly recommend it to anyone who has never worked with photography, but really wants to take pictures at the milongas. It is perfect to begin with.

What type of camera do you have now?
The same. 98% of my photos are taken with this camera. 98% and not 100% – only because for one of the tango events I borrowed a professional camera from my friend. To be honest, since then, I constantly think about buying a full frame camera for myself. Unfortunately, the equipment I dream about costs as much as a small car… and I always have other more important expenses…

elzbieta petryka, warsaw, tango photographer
‘Rumor has it’ – I like the contrast between the focused lady in the foreground and the ladies chatting in the background. Of course, I do not know what the ladies are talking about They were probably talking on very serious subjects and not gossiping at all. This is an obvious example that photography lies 🙂


What catches your eye and compels you to take a shot?
I do a lot of photos just to give people a memento from the event. So often (like most tango photographers) I take pictures under conditions that are far away from the desired. People frequently tell me that if I want to be perceived as a good photographer I should only publish my best photos. I see this differently. If I took a picture that was not so perfect but could still be valuable to someone, I prefer to share it. This is part of my contribution to the tango community. However, the most compelling element when I want to take interesting pictures is lighting. Light is the absolute basis, the starting point. Unfortunately, tango event organizers often do not know how, or do not want, to take care of adequate light for photos. They think that good light for photographers is not good light for the dancers. It does not have to be that way!

What is something you are still learning?
I shoot only for a year, so am still learning everything. I’m trying to improve my shooting technique and knowledge of image post processing. Most of all, I’m trying to develop my own style.

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
Never publish images where someone looks unfavourable. If you think that the photographed person may not like your photo – usually you’re right.

What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
There are many technical challenges. Photographic equipment has its limitations. Usually we take photos of fast-moving people in poor lighting conditions. So when it comes to the technical aspect, the challenge is to overcome these limitations. The breakthrough discovery for me was that sometimes the best way is to use these constraints to achieve an interesting visual effect. Picture quality is not, in my opinion, the main measure of good tango photography. The most important is to convey the ephemeral impression of the moment. However, the biggest challenge, for me personally, is the constant struggle not to fall into a routine. I’m trying to force myself to look for new points of view. I am happy when I find new ways of expression, but I have to admit that this does not happen every single time.

What would you like to get out of the Tangofolly Project?
Participation in this project is an opportunity for me to show my photos to a wider audience. People who view my pictures may sometimes have interesting ideas for collaboration. So who knows what will come of this project!

Denis Svartz is a professional Reportage Photographer from Lyon, France. He obtained and undertook an initial training at the école des Beaux-Arts (The Paris School of Fine Art), which has allowed him to develop his own work through noctural scenes.


Where did you grow up?
I was born and grew up in Paris, more precisely in Pigalle, a well-known place. Since my childhood, I always have been attracted by nightlife. I remember how I was amazed by all the flashing signs above the bars and clubs which I was not allowed to enter. Later in life, I started, with passion, to take pictures of architecture and ambiance at night. What I like about taking pictures is that my camera registers details that my eyes can hardly see.

Where do you live now?
I now live in Lyon, a much smaller city than Paris, but everyday life is easier.

What do you do when you are not taking pictures?
For 6 years, I’ve been learning and practicing tango. I think this dance responded to a teenage frustration when my friends danced (rock and roll) and I didn’t because I was too shy. The first time someone told me about the magic of Tango, I was hooked.

denis svartz, paris, tango photographer
“The dark dress” – This image could be a dancer’s vision of a Milonga. First the eyes are drawn to the details. It creates a zoom effect and gives a dynamic vision.

Why did you start doing photography?
I prefer to talk about my start as a photographer of tango. I waited 3 years before starting to take photos of tango, which allowed me to learn and appreciate the proximity with each other.

Who inspires you?
I thank my teacher, Lesly Hamilton, who gave me so much. Tango was a real renewal of my approach, introducing human emotions. Since then, I regularly make use of this training.

Why do you love being a photographer?
Being a photographer allows me to have many tools, which offer a lot of possibilities. But taking pictures or dancing tango both require training over and over again in order that at least the gesture becomes natural and you can improvise.

What was your first camera?
My first camera was a Rollei 35, fully manual. I developed my black & white pictures myself; it needs a lot of time and precision.

What type of camera do you have now?
I work in digital now. I hope to soon acquire the latest model of camera that allows you to work with incredibly low lights and which makes it possible to take pictures, not only of dancers, but also of people sitting around waiting to be invited. These are usually in the dark.

denis svartz, paris, tango photographer
“Mirada” – It is difficult to catch crossing glances. Here I manage to capture the very moment when a dancer is invited by another. People around the tables are talking but at the same time are looking for who they could glance at.

What catches your eye and compels you to take a shot?
There are so many reasons to take a shot. Some of them are conscious. Sometimes you can try to find a memory.

What is something you are still learning?
Tango brought me a lot on a personal and photographic level; it allowed me to go beyond my fear, and release all the pictures I had accumulated inside me. Since then, I try to go a bit further.

denis svartz, paris, tango photographer
“The couple” I took this picture while I was attending the rehearsal of two great dancers: Claudia Codega and Esteban Moreno. There is an opposition between two spaces. Their posture is unusual in tango, which leaves us free to imagine that these two people embrace each other, and that is not only dancing.

What advice do you have for photographers who are just starting?
My advice is that what I learned from Tango can be adapted to photography. First: To train and reproduce the steps of the teachers. Second: To please the partner or the viewer: the pretty figure, the nice picture. Third: Finding your own dance, your own emotion within an image.

What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
It is a sublime dance, which is extremely photogenic. The biggest challenge is to try to overcome the “clichés” of the Tango.

What would you like to get out of the Tangofolly project?
Tangofolly is a great opportunity to showcase many photographers in the wide community of tango dancers. I hope it will help to produce new images that will be a source of inspiration for other photographers, but also for dancers.

Philip Angell, a wedding photograher from East London, enjoys shooting Tango when the opportunity presents. Philip regularly supports the tango community in London and UK and is an experienced tango photographer.

These days you live in East London. Where did you grow up?
I was born just outside Paris, but we moved back to England when I was 5. We ended up moving quite often while I was growing up. Never very far, but enough for me to feel like my roots were more at my boarding school in Hampshire than in any particular town.

What do you do when you are not taking pictures?
I’m a primary school teacher.

Why did you ever start taking pictures?
I started when I was at school, just taking my camera along to social situations. People liked the pictures I took, so I kept taking them!

How would you describe your style?
Somewhere between reportage/photojournalism and portraiture. I try to capture the essence of a person, to show them at their best, but without them being too aware that I’m doing it. Someone once described my photographs as a conversation. I often shoot at very close proximity, dipping in and out of the conversation while also observing and waiting to catch just the right expression.

‘Birdseye Tango’ – This was unusual venue, with gantries going over a bright, enclosed area and a polished concrete floor. I love the simplicity of the dancers’ isolation in the frame, the texture and colour of the floor behind them and the way their movement has resulted in her dress flying out and their feet being slightly blurred as they spin around each other.


What’s the best part about being a photographer?
There is definitely a feeling of elation when you know that you pressed the shutter at exactly the right moment.

What was your first camera?
My father’s old Pentax S1a. It was a completely manual camera (it didn’t even have a built-in light meter), but it really taught me what all the different controls do!

What type of camera do you have now?
A Pentax K5. It’s a brilliant camera which works well in low light (helpful for tango!), but there’s always that itch to upgrade… As for lenses, I almost rely solely on my Pentax 43mm – a little jewel of a lens

‘Pool of Blue’ – At Negracha, London. The lighting at Negracha is different every time you go, and on this occasion, there was a single, bright blue downlight amid a sea of less intense red light. I spent a long time waiting for this particular couple dressed in white to be in just the right spot. I love the dreamlike, almost ethereal quality of the resulting contrast between them and everybody else.

What catches your eye behind the lens and compels you to take the shot?
To begin with, the social content of the photograph was more often than not the driving factor in whether I took a photograph, and even more in whether I printed it or showed it to people. This was definitely true of my tango photographs to start with as well, but more and more, I find myself looking for ways to exploit the particular lighting and perspectives available as well.

Something you’re still learning?
I would love to be able to take beautiful posed portraits. This is something I never used to be interested in, but more and more I see the excitement in creating a character, rather than showing the best of how people already are.

‘Roberto Siri’ – A live performance with his sextet at Negracha, London. He has an amazing energy, presence and sense of fun which permeated the whole set. He had just taken the bandoneon and began playing the piano with his left hand and the bandoneon with his right. He looked directly into my camera with this incredible expression of power and control.


What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
It’s always good to understand how the different controls on your camera work, and what effect they can have on your photographs, but technique is only a small part of what gives a photograph impact and meaning. So, learn your camera, read theory and tutorials about composition, lighting techniques, etc., but then let yourself forget it all and just play!

What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
As long as your camera and lens can handle the low light levels at milonga, the greatest challenge I find, is to catch people at a moment which makes them look like they’re dancing, rather than wrestling! We tend to forget, when we’re watching people dance, that most of the time we are moving from one point of balance to another. Our brains are exceptionally good at interpreting movement as part of a whole, but a photograph gives no context – you often can’t tell what direction people are moving in, their speed or the quality of that movement, and if you photograph the wrong moment you can make them look ungainly, uncomfortable or both!

What would you like to get out of the Tangofolly SHOOT Project?
The Tangofolly SHOOT project gives me an incentive to not get lazy with my photography! It is already making me look for opportunities to take different types of images and not the ones I might normally shoot.