Two to Tango

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





My first self portrait with the Nikon D7000 and my two speedlights. ISO-200, 50MM f/1.4 inspired by Eliot Ness and the Untouchables

Steve Maya, Self Portrait

Steve Maya, Self Portrait

El Cantinero

This photo was taken after the very first NYC google+ photo walk back in September 2011. After spending the better part of the evening shooting in the west village, a few of us went out for dinner and drinks at “El Cantinero” on university place. Our waiter noticed that everyone in our party was wielding a camera so he changed into the Mexican ranchero outfit and hammed it up for the photographers. I snapped this while he was taking our order. It reminds me of a fun night reconnecting with an old friend and meeting some new ones with whom I still shoot with on a regular basis. The photo walk proved to be a success with more people joining in on subsequent walks. My other photos from The G+ photo walks can be seen here.