A few weeks ago, I had the distinct privilege to shoot at the exclusive National Arts Club located in the historic Tilden Mansion at 15 Gramercy Park. The National Arts Club was founded in 1898 by Charles DeKay, an art and literary critic of the New York Times to “stimulate, foster and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.” It’s also one of the first organizations to embrace and promote new media art forms such as photography, film and digital media. As a native New Yorker with humble roots, it gave me a minor glimpse of old New York wealth and splendor that I often forget exists.
The photos here are part of an ongoing web project for acclaimed Argentine tango instructor Jon Tariq and his partner Della Lam. Shooting at the NAC was a pleasure for all of us, but it was not without some challenges. The first was shooting in a space that was sight unseen. Scouting a venue is essential before a shoot because you can measure up the place and think about composition, lighting, etc. However due to the exclusive nature of the club, we couldn’t have access until the day of the shoot. Another challenge was setting up my 2 speed lights without the luxury of light stands. Stands and tripods were absolutely prohibited. Fortunately, my wife assisted me and became a human light stand for one speed light and left arm for the other.
Challenges aside, we captured some pretty cool photos that evoke tango in its old time glory. More pictures can be seen at the Tango With Jon website