Like most people who are not eighteen or gorgeous, I don’t like my picture being taken. As you all know, a photograph adds about ten pounds, which happens to be the exact amount I recently gained or continuously try to shed. So, it may look like twenty pounds and a lost cause to me. Before I agree to have my picture shown in public, it needs to be censored, stamped on all the appropriate places, and edited. It has to show me from my good side (don’t let anyone tell you there is no such thing) and the light has to be low. Taking all these factors into account it is actually quite surprising that we allow photographers inside the milonga at all.
Organisers of encuentros, marathons and festivals are inviting photographers to cover their events, and some even mention it as a registration term. Our own policy for picture-taking in the milonga is: Yes, unless, which means that we, too, expect dancers to accept their pictures being taken, unless they object to it reasonably, without use of violence. It is our experience, that the vast majority of our guests don’t mind photographers. Given my own reservations on being photographed, I have been wondering about the reasons for this phenomenon, ruling out the possibility that all of our guests are actually eighteen or gorgeous.
Examining the pictures of the nine hundred thirty seven tango friends I boast on Facebook, I conclude that they don’t mind being photographed, not even from their bad side. I can offer a couple of reasons for that. One is, they have a strong motive: they are always on the look-out for dance partners and accept the collateral damage of facial recognition, Russian election meddling and CIA control. If I would have facial recognition software on my iPhone I swear, I would use it! You can’t say hi…eh..you! to everybody. Another reason could be, that even the most introverted person accepts being photographed dancing tango, possibly thinking: ‘You hardly notice me in normal life, but I have this wonderful person in my arms to prove that maybe you should’.
I recently visited the United States on a transit flight. Passing through the airport, I estimate that I had my picture taken by Homeland Security twenty times. At passport control I had ten fingerprints, an iris scan and a picture taken, all with my full cooperation, in order to lower the chances of being blown to smithereens at 10,000 feet. On arrival in Europe, a machine recognised me like an old friend, showing a smiley. TripAdvisor reminded me to review the hotel I just stayed at and also to complete my reviews of the museums and attractions I visited last summer. Yes indeed, I’m waving my white flag in surrender. Take my picture, please!! Here’s my bad side! Bring it on! Load up on ten pounds! By all means, let’s give ‘em something to look at! Make it art! But make it look goooood. Thank you!