A shoot with Philippe Gauthier The Spirit of Tango Award Winner 2014

Story | Interview | Rita Horne | 21 Jan 2016 | 0 comments

We are delighted to present the overall ‘Spirit of Tango’ Award 2014 to Philippe Gauthier for the image ‘Cindarella’s Dream’. Philippe receives £100 in gift vouchers to the photography store of his choice.

Congratulations Philippe, its a wonderful shot!

“This is such a great news! I’m very honored. I know the competition was tight and I’m very happy my picture could get so far.” Philippe Gauthier


The judges said: One of the best images so far. Its editorial quality! If I took it I would be delighted. The dancers stand to the side to let the central focus through. The image is beautifully lit. The thin line of light coming from under the couch draws my eye to the subject and ties the dancers on each side together, creating a line of motion.


FROM: I live in Paris, it’s a great city for tango and photography so I’m quite happy about it.

GENRE: It’s a difficult question, I like them all : street, night, portrait, macro, … and of course tango !

STYLE: It’s something evolving, and I’m just discovering what is my style or styles. I like deep blacks, warm reds, textures, but maybe more importantly giving a sense of depth. Technically, I like to be discreet, to be unobtrusive and not alter my subject, to capture it as it is. Then, it might sound cheeky, but there is something about love and optimism… Trying to find the best framing, the best color, waiting for everything to be just right, to make you love the subject. It’s like the half-empty/half-full glass dilemma, but I try to make everyone see the glass…, full.


Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the northeastern suburbs of Paris in a little house, with a front and a back yard, and a park nearby.

What do you do when you are not taking pictures?
I’m also a computer engineer in a state research institute for health. I do a LOT of tango. I’m also in an amateur band. We play for theatre. Sometimes I play piano or ukulele. I love to travel and watch movies.

Why did you start doing tango photography?
Well I started photography for tango! Something was so fascinating about a couple dancing tango, so many delicate emotions kept within, yet, sometimes so strong. I wanted to fix that somewhere and prolong the fainting moment.

Why do you love being a photographer?
It’s my personal therapy! I’m a bit shy, so that’s my way to say I love you to the world, and you should too !

What was your first camera?
My father gave me a compact Olympus Lumix LX3.

What type of camera do you have now?
I have an “hybrid” camera which means it’s very compact, without any mirror mechanisms like reflex cameras, but I can still change lenses and have good image quality. I trade the operability and auto focus system the pro cameras have for something cheap, light and that I can carry everywhere! I work mostly with legacy and manual lenses, I lose auto-focus, but there is something self-rewarding by doing all that manually and the camera still helps me.

What catches your eye and compels you to take a shot?
Usually emotions like a smile. Or something you can guess but not quite see yet. Sometime just sunlight beaming at grass makes me run on my knees to take a shot. :p

What is something you are still learning?
I have learned most technical aspects of photography and now I’m learning what is my style, what I’m naturally good at, and am pushing it to the max. I’m also allowing myself to get out of it sometimes and try something new, even if the result is bad at first, it gives contrast.

What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
To try to find a camera he/she can have fun with. Something easy at first. Smartphones are getting better and better if your geeky or an Instax camera that can give you a real photo you can share. So yes, something to get the result, a photo, fast and be able to quickly re-try. Ok, night photos and interior photos will require a better camera but you can still do long exposure shots, and it seems I won with a long exposure shot. The most important thing is framing, the line of a photo, a pro camera won’t teach you that but could lose yourself in all the parameters available.
Then be curious about everything. Ask yourself, ‘what do I like about this photo?’ Then ask your friend. Then try to make that photo again. Look at others’ works, painting, …

What do you think is the greatest challenge for a tango photographer?
If can mention three of them. I would say it’s about scenery, light and patience. The light is usually so dim inside milongas that it restricts the scene possibilities. Then it’s to renew that scenery, its scale, to find a new story to tell with the same couple, something original. Finally patience is key. I usually choose my frame and wait for a good scene to form itself in it. I sometimes get tired of waiting. But that’s exactly how I made the shot of Cindarella’s Dream, so it’s worth it !


Credits: None…

SHOOT Roll: Winners

SHOOT Project: Explore the photos and award-winning images, read interviews with the winners and judges and featured tango photographers. Visit the SHOOT →

Published: 21 Jan 2016 @ 15:22


Related comment ID
Post my comment