Tewfic El-Sawy: first featured travel audio slideshow in our contest!
Tewfic El-Sawy is the first featured photographer in our travel audio slideshow contest. Read his comments about creating this story and visiting tango halls (milongas) in Buenos Aires.
Send us your audio slideshow about a trip or a place that you love, or a cultural experience you had somewhere. We’ll select three winners from the entries and give them a free new version of Soundslides (coming soon). We’ll also select three additional winners from among any students who send a submission. Tweet the link (@soundslides), post it to our Facebook page, or put it in the comments section below. Do it now!
SS: So, what made you want to do an audio slideshow about tango?
TEWFIC EL-SAWY: In summer 2011, I was teaching a multimedia class at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Buenos Aires and, as I usually do in my classes, used Soundslides as the software. In the evenings, after the classes, I went to the tango halls (known as milongas) that dot the city, to photograph Argentina’s “national” dance, the tango.
I chose to photograph the milongas and the tango at these venues for many reasons. Perhaps it was mainly because of my appreciation for international music, the romanticism of the dance and music, but as a photographer, I am a people-watcher…and I observed the people who were at the milongas...I call them ‘actors’ because they were, wittingly or unwittingly, acting a part in a pre-ordained, old-fashioned ritual of almost courtship…the silent and imperceptible gesture by men inviting women to dance…I was reminded that their actions mirrored what occurs between men and women in their quotidian life.
SS: This audio slideshow has a magical, moody quality to it. It’s very poetic — in sequence, sound and image. Was it difficult to get the material for it?
TE: I was pleased in having broken many of my self-imposed rules that I normally follow when producing such multimedia pieces. For this piece, I applied panning (Ken Burns effect) on a few occasions to give the semblance of motion, and to bring the eyes of the viewers to a specific part of the still.
The most difficult aspect of photographing this piece was the occasional darkness of the tango halls…sometimes they were too brightly lit…on others, they were dim. I also had to exercise some common-sense restraint as I didn’t want to intrude on the dancers’ moments and their privacy as they followed the cadence of the tango. It’s a difficult dance that requires not only concentration, but also immersion in the music…and I certainly didn’t want to intrude and break the spell in any way.
SS: How about the soundtrack? It’s amazing.
TE: I’ve also used only two audio tracks…one is by the legendary Carlos Gardel singing the beautiful “A Media Luz,” and a short poetic narration by Paula Acunzo, a Buenos Aires-based photographer who attended my class, and also a terrific tango dancer. She deserves much credit, not only for writing this evocative poem, but also for suffering my presence at the tango halls and milongas.
I decided I’d use “A Media Luz”….which means half-light, as main soundtrack for the slideshow because I was humming it in Buenos Aires almost all the time…and because I photographed these images in the penumbra of the tango halls, and accentuated their darkness even further by vignetting some of the stills….so it seemed eminently appropriate.
SS: It is a lovely piece. Thank you for submitting it to our travel audio slideshow contest.
TE: It’s special to me for many reasons: the delightful music, the rituals of the pre-dance, of the dance itself, and of the post-dance…the covert flirting, the movements of the dancers, of the spectators, the waiters…it’s a theater.
Send us your audio slideshow about a trip or a place that you love, or a cultural experience you had somewhere. We’ll select three winners from the entries and give them a free new version of Soundslides (coming soon). We’ll also select three additional winners from among any students who send a submission. Tweet the link (@soundslides), post it to our Facebook page, or put it in the comments section below.