Things about me doing photography and video and/or me in tango that I often get asked or that I may find relevant to communicate.
This page may be updated, including with new entries. If you have ideas of question that you would like me to answer here, please send them using the contact form (or any means that you may know to contact me). I keep complete freedom to decide if I’ll include the question to this page or not, for any kind of reason.
Please note that that even though the current version of this page may feel like it was an interview, it is not actual interview. But it was thought a bit like an interview as an artefact that helped me structure ideas.
It will still contain some "purely technical" information, but I wanted to go more in depth on how I related to creative process, social media, people and stuff like that.
Since a very long time, I like to create things in general (sound editing, writings, image editing, web creations, web development, video edition … regarding photography I started much more recently). I don’t call myself an artist, I’m often relying on technical and technological aspects, more than on composing and story-telling, but there is always some kind of creation process involved.
I am not saying that everything was brilliant; there were things that were very experimental, some things that I would not re-do or that I would re-do differently, but some of my past creations, long before the tango stuff, got worldwide success, though mostly in much targeted audiences. I think that the YouTube channel is now most successful and tango is probably the widest audience I got so far.
I also have some kind of fascination for data accuracy and precision… Here I mean "data" in a very large sense, and that’s not only about image, it’s also about sounds, word meanings, ideas, language… I feel the same kind of fascination even when writing text.
I’m even often disturbed when I hear flaws in lyrics for example, even by some of the greatest writers…
But I must say I find that my own texts usually don’t grow old well… even if they contained interesting moments, they’re too much anchored in given time and context… They’re more like instant captures, remain unfinished or experimental and yet are often parts of private communications...
In general, I don’t think that I have a so many "universal" things to say that they would form a book or a whole story to tell that would worth being immortalised… I feel like I have thousands mini ideas that don’t necessarily stick together and need time and space to be allowed to evolve.
In that sense, I’m a bit afraid of books… they probably contain a lot of obsolete or false information. I'm not saying that I don't like books, it probably means that I would be even more in admiration for a "perfectly written book", this is rather about people's fascination for books, like old style fascination for T.V., both require critical mind.
I think I have less of this problem with movies… Probably, if all your senses are triggered at the same time, it’s easier to have more flexible interpretations or suspend judgement.
One thing that I like in photography and video the way I can do them in tango, is that they don’t rely on words at all.
Ultimately, whenever I finish a picture or a video, I hope that it can make people happy, the people who are involved as well as those who will just be "viewers". Not like I think it could change their life but like it could make things better at a small scale.
Yes but it’s a bit complicated. Some people call me shy, but I really don’t think that I’m shy; I’m more like extremely introvert.
I cannot smile, or when I laugh it looks may look like I’m smiling, but it’s like I don’t control that facial expression, "smile". So I can’t really fake or overexpress happiness like many people do and people confuse that with "unhappiness". I’m not sure about this but people with Asperger kids or various assimilated concepts often come to me and ask me stuff or tell me I have Asperger’s, but I think there are a lot of misconceptions around these topics. I just call them all "being cerebral and introvert".
I tend to want to see everybody positively, be nice and kind to everyone… but at the same time not faking things. Being introvert at the same time can distort things. And I’m very often disappointed by excess of ego, lack of consistence, all kinds of manipulation, people who try to abuse kindness, (psychological) violences…
Then people who invent stories behind your back, but they never asked you it they’re actually any true.
In addition, when I see how social media (and that means the people using them) have evolved these last years… it seems like everyone has become so dogmatic, obscurantic, esoteric, naïve and little warriors for dividing causes (or they have dividing ways of defending rightful causes) … It often feels like reason, respect, and often logic too, are becoming values from the past … And like misunderstanding, violence and hatred are taking over more and more… I think I’m getting less inclined to go towards people.
So if I can make people happy from behind the scene, at this moment it feels … "safer", because I’m not sure if I understand the world anymore. Well, "understanding" the world if big statement, but I mean right now I really don’t.
(* Great news… Like one day after publishing this, I realised that smiling works better if I use the lower lip, rather than letting the movement come from the upper lip, or from both, I don’t know. But I need to be really thinking about it when doing it then… I have no idea if it’s the same thing for everybody if that’s just me, and anyway, it still looks so fake, forced and artificial that I think I'll still prefer not to use it!
First, I’m no one to tell you that, so this is just quick opinion.
I think I preferred when they were more entertaining than political. They should probably be informative…
Exchanging ideas is fine I think, just, people should keep in mind that not everyone thinks or should think the same, that disagreeing (respectfully) is not an attack against their person, that there is not necessarily an immediate answer to all questions at a given time and, last but not least, that different points of view on a given topic can be both right and/or wrong at the same time because everything is not strictly binary here are degrees of opinion or of uncertainty in most things. By the way, don’t misunderstand this as an excuse for inventing unlikely theories, and I don’t mean that any opinions are equally true.
I will put this kind of question in grey because it’s more a sub-question from a previous question than something I would have initially included on this this page. I don’t have time right to developer a "sub-question category concept".
I’m already mostly only using them to push things that I create. I nearly never make a personal post… I do sometimes write comments, most are in private groups, and I even more rarely use the "like" function or similar.
But I’m nothing going to "stop" using them… what I described only impacts the public parts, and this could still change over time … yet they have also become necessary to follow events, and I use private messages… as many things, they’re a "tool" and it depends what people do with it.
But technical, I kind of tired of how they ate up the independent web and everybody jumped into it, how they now have control on what say or see, and how they have on control the shape and substance of what we publish.
It happens sometimes that people don’t like some photographs, though I try to pick the photographs very carefully. Though there is a need to do some concessions in that process… In example, I can keep a photograph where someone looks extraordinarily good and someone else looks more average… Or in social event albums, if I have only a few average photographs of certain people… Should I discard them all? Or should I let something in that is not perfect because these people won’t be looking at it like photographers and could even be disappointed if there was no picture of them at all? These situations are kind of dilemmas.
But I really try to select the right pictures and make as many people look nice as I can.
Hence, if someone’s not a happy with a picture, I hope they don’t hesitate to ask me to take it down, as mentioned in the information that go with all of my photo albums: Information links: Social events.
(There's something that may be temporary but, from 2019 to 2021, I will probably need to give tango an extremely low priority, in addition to the following.)
First, because I like to take time to do things right, or as right as I can.
I’m not a fan of the modern "use fast and forget" philosophy. I like things that have been thoroughly worked and thought about. I would like to release things that people may still want to watch in years rather than things that people will like just because "Oh yeah I was in that event yesterday!" and then forget about it forever. I mean not sure if I achieve it but that's the philosophy I try to follow.
I also think providing quality content is more respectful for your audience, and also for the people who you have "worked" with. To me something created with that philosophy in mind is saying "Look, we’ve worked on this, maybe this is worth a bit of you time and attention". I prefer this than feeding the unending streams of undercooked items and information that no one can technically pay constant attention to.
Well, the problem is that you get lost in that flow of information whether you want it or not and platform algorithms often favour quantity over quality.
To summarize, I really like this expression as some used to say: "It will be out when it’s ready."
Secondly, things may take long due to agenda and focus related difficulties…
The issue there is not just finding some time gaps in my agenda to work on a project, the issue for me is to find time when I can actually focus most of my attention to it, and it’s not made easy by have tendency to want to do plenty of things and the needs to jumps from a task to another.
Video is extremely demanding in this regard as it requires a long focus time span, sometimes a video takes me like six to ten hours of focus time (not counting encoding and uploading time), and at some moments, you can’t do without the sound, so it’s impossible to listen to music or some "talking" videos, and if I don’t get intellectual inputs for a while, I feel unhappy and I feel like I have many things to catch up, but then I need to go to sleep to go work the day after…
Because of the long focus time it requires, if I don’t have at least 2 or 3 hours in a row to work on a video, I don’t even think of it.
From that point of view, photography is a bit easier to fit in agenda as one single photograph can be edited faster and it’s easier to do a few now and a few then and another few later etc. And you can listen to music or talks while editing. But I think I now have a more extended workflow than most photographers do, including things and tweaks to preserve quality after upload, a home-made software to give me more freedom when placing text watermarks (signatures) which requires an extra step, and now, I think, I have three or selection selection phases, like two before editing the photographs and two after editing them, some phases are "repeatable"… hence, at the moment of finishing an album, it may still feel like a long time before actually uploading it.
So, I prefer to keep focusing on quality rather than quantity, and it kind of became bigger than my agenda.
You can see stuff I did not have time to complete yet on this page: Backlog
And thirdly, the tools themselves may require extra time…
One could believe that, with computers getting faster, everything has improved but not necessarily, software can become more and more sluggish despite faster technology… I usually process four times larger images than 5 years ago, but I don’t think that tools are performing four times better. Also parts of software or dependencies may change or break over times, and these are problems that are time consuming.
It’s not something that I accurately tested by the way but I feel like it was more comfortable to edit a 720p video in, say, 2004 than a 4K video in 2020. Maybe I also use more effects and plug-ins now.
I think that I am more satisfied with the works themselves when doing the maestro performances videos. I’m more satisfied with what I brought to my videos that you don’t or didn’t usually see in tango videos.
Though I have a certain style in photography, but I feel like it is less… specific?
But also, they reach completely different audiences.
Photography reaches a more local crowd, so it’s nice because it’s people who I can actually say "hi" to and know by name… when my social memory is not saturated.
On the other hand, videos reach a global audience, the YouTube channel was the most viewed tango channel worldwide in 2018 (it’s not the case now I think, as I have been less active but I think it still ranks well, though I still usually get more views per video than similar channels, but I publish much fewer these days). But according to the channel statistics, the audience is spread in way that everyone seems quite far away…
But ultimately, I also like switching from photography to video and the other way around. It always comes with that refreshing feeling you may have when you restart doing something that you haven’t done for some time.
Since I know many faces through photography, and also because I go out less often, it happens frequently that I meet people who remind vaguely of someone that I may know, like I talked to them at least once, but I don’t necessarily remember if they told me their name, when or where it was…
These people, and some others that I actually recognise, are in some kind of grey zone that says "Should I say hi? Or should I not?" sometimes it seems like this is reciprocal, and we often end up not greeting.
Then I usually think that’s sad, but on the other hand I’m not extremely comfortable with chit-chat…
Also, I have a theory that once you have met a certain quantity of people in your life, many new persons that you can meet will actually (confusingly?) remind you of someone else. And this is getting truer and truer with time.
In the past, I already used to have a tendency to tell people stuff like "Oh, you remind of this person and that person." But I try to avoid that now because sometimes people take this bad for no reason.
To make videos as I like to do, I need to travel with a lot camera gear. So it’s already difficult to think of travelling by flight.
Even if I could think of having a smaller alternative gear that would probably mean a trade-off in quality and extra costs.
Also to make videos as I like to do, I need to rely on certain people, who need to be able to move a camera smoothly and who should be reliable. In the context of a milonga, you realise a lot of people aren’t as reliable as they say, for all kind of reasons. And it’s a context where I’m more or less in a state of relative emergency the whole night, so these people must agree that I may sometimes have to interrupt them, or at least talk to them, even if they are dancing… Because you can’t give updated information and organise everything when you just have the chance to catch people during the cortinas.
So finding such people is not necessarily as easy as some organisers may think, it’s not just like you place a camera and you press button and it rolls… it doesn’t require them to have real technical knowledge, it’s not so easy to organise.
Then there are the costs… I once shot photographs at a marathon which was not extremely far, but in a neighbour country nonetheless. I just asked for compensation money, for the gas, and because I had to take a day off from work, which amounted to peanuts compared to the actual price of a photographer shooting a whole week-end. But afterwards, I don’t remember how and when exactly, but I more or less understood that, even though I wasn’t making profit, they were paying me the whole profit of that year’s edition.
So I hope that tango events can make more profit than this… I’m not sure about certain festivals.
And also there’s the time issue. When I only do Antwerp Tango Festival, it’s already taking a lot of time, but still gives me some time to do other things before the next edition. But a year such as 2017 when I did both Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp… Well I still have videos from Brussels 2017 that I haven’t edited three years later.
Long story short: we can’t make money out of tango videos because most of them use copyrighted music.
Most tango performances using copyrighted music.
In theory, you can’t use copyrighted music in your own creations without asking for authorisations that can be extremely complicated and expensive to obtain. When I say expensive, it depends on countries, where I live I evaluated the cost at approximately 11.500 EUR the first year, then approximately 500 EUR/year for one single video containing between 7 and 8 minutes of copyrighted music.
What YouTube does that helps this is that they have got a database of copyrighted music and they are able to detect pieces of copyrighted sounds in videos. That system is called "Content ID". If they detect even just a short piece of copyrighted music, they place advertisements on your video and the all potential revenues will go to YouTube and to the copyright owner. Even if you spent hours working on the image page, you won’t get a penny.
Anyway, if you want to get money from your videos you need to check the "Monetise" option on your channel, but if you know that most of your videos will contain copyrighted music, it isn’t really worth doing it and can potentially be more risky (though some things are unclear on that last point). That’s why channels like mine are not monetized at all, all advertisements you may see are there because of copyrights soundtracks.
The great benefits of this is that you don’t have to run after authorisation paperwork, you don’t have to pay and you won’t get a law suit for using copyright infringement.
The big downside of it this is that it’s since that you are denied any revenue on your part of the work. Also, even if you didn’t want them, advertisements are forced onto your videos.
A shadier side of this is that, even if you use royalty free music, there are companies (at least one, but one is more than enough) that register pieces of music that are not yet registered in YouTube’s Content ID system. That way, these parasites are able to suck revenues from some your videos while you are not allowed to do so. In general, YouTube grants more free trust to companies claiming than to content creators, even when their claims are scams.
An even shadier side of this is that copyright owners who have "claims" (including the fake claims I mentioned in previous paragraph) on your video soundtracks still have the option to turn these "claims" into strikes at any moment they want. Then, if you don’t remove the videos or if you get 3 "strikes" within 90 days, your channel gets closed forever. (That’s what happened to "030 Tango"’s first channel, possibly also happened once to "Prischepov TV", I’m less sure about this.)
Welcome to the magical world of YouTube creation!
Yet the potential revenues aren’t very high anyway. Even if I could monetise my channel, and even though I have millions and millions of views, it’s not certain that it would even pay back the cameras and lenses.
I haven’t really looked into sponsoring or product placements so far but I’m not inclined to do any of these. I would be more open to sponsoring than product placement though.
And in case one would have dreams of content without advertisements… It is likely that YouTube’s suggestion algorithm would penalise such videos because no advertisements also means no revenues for YouTube. (Though you may now register to YouTube Premium and get YouTube without ads … but this is a different thing, it’s only on viewer’s side.)
Oh and, while you are reading this … if you check my video descriptions, you can actually make donations to support work, or you can go to this page: Donations
I think that artists and creators should get paid. But I think that I have never truly understood myself how you claim decent money for creativity… (Now, when I see how some professional artists can be struggling, I guess I can't complain too much about it.)
And professionals are often trying to get things for free from artists/creators, one reason I think is that creativity is kind of hard to quantify… And in some cases you would be doing it independently from the money anyway… Or they have bullshit arguments like it will give you visibility… and then they may even "forget" to credit you…
Once, a really big website (we were both addressing some similar target audience in that time, that’s why it made sense that they contacted me), which has now been bought by a really big company I think, offered me 200 US dollars to redesign their "layout"… I just skipped… and laughed!
I get money from a completely different kind of jobs. Though even in these jobs, I had least once had some ideas that helped the company I was working for earning millions (by allowing them to win tenders after improving productivity and process)… and some times later I got fired, with incredible imaginary back stories… I guess that’s when I started to understand that so many narratives about hard work, dedication, performance, merit and money are just complete bullshit... and nothing proved this wrong so far. . And that precise company thought me so much about corporate bullshit; I think if there was a award for it, they would deserve it…
At some moments it’s a bit frustrating, because it feels like working twice and getting paid only once. That is one more reason why I’m less productive in tango now.
Long story short, I started tango by learning to dance in tango classes. Later I got into tango photography and stopped dancing. I’ve never really been a dancer at any time in my life so the fact that I’ve been able to dance tango a little bit is kind of an exception, there’s something that I felt different in this dance that attracted me to it, I can feel this music and the dance to some extent, yet not making me a dancer.
Other than that, I usually like the events, the atmospheres, the people, and many things that come around with tango.
I have written more in details on this topic in the following texts:
Rarely, or mostly just to see what is being done elsewhere. I do sometimes find gems here and there, but it’s not so easy to do.
First, I’ve never been a really "easy audience" in general, even for my own stuff (other than the fact that I was/am learning) … I try to see the good, the flaws, it is not necessarily that I have deep technical knowledge in every domain, but it’s often an unclear message when you want to acknowledge someone’s talent despite the fact that at the same can’t get into their works.
I think, in a different context, Prince totally nailed this answer in an interview so I just want to quote:
Arsenio: Do you watch any of the shows that bring new musicians to the Amercian public?
Prince: Not so much. (...) I was watching a show with Esperanza Spalding who's a friend of mine (bass player).
And, we were sitting and quietly watching... We look at each other and she says... "Are you rearranging the music right now in your head?" (Nodding "yes".) ...and then she said "So am I."
So it's really hard to watch other musicians because you're tempted to(?) ... you know it's like a painting you wanna make straighter, (...) it doesn't mean that what they're doing isn't of merit, I just hear music different(?)..."
(Source in video: Prince chat with Arsenio 05/03/14 from 3:50 to 4:48)
Though, he next remark about learning from others is quite relevant too, but you need to be selective in that.
I don’t really have any clear plan to stop, though I may feel attracted to other things these days. But they don’t necessarily offer the same kind of experiences as tango does.
Though, I got away from the most opportunistic and ungrateful organisers. Or in some cases there are some places or times I feel less inspired to go to, which has nothing to do with the organisers. In example I feel much less motivated to go out on Sunday afternoons, because I like to finish Sundays with the feeling that I’ve been productive, achieved things, not that I accumulated even more things on my to-do list. So I like to stay at home and "work" on Sundays.
Anyway, it’s unlikely that it would be clearly visible if I stop, because I always have this never-ending backlog… So I can expect that even when if I’d stop, I’d still have for like a year of things to edit and publish.
Things about me doing photo and video and/or me in tango that I often get asked or that I thought may be useful to know. This page may be updated with new entries.Use/Copyrights
Please find information on page "Conditions of use"."Will the photos be online tomorrow?" "Why does it take much time?"
I know that the trend is to have things published very fast, having people "like" photos their friends appear on so that they spread a little bit. The demand is for some type of "quick and dirty" ego- and event- promotional material. As long as it can be seen on a mobile phone. All which result in a lot of "noise" and "forgettable" data chunks.
I have never been attracted by this approach. I usually have in mind to produce things that one may remember and possibly want to have a look at in the future *1. Or at least I try to *2. I stick somewhere between a technical and a creative approach, but not a journalistic one.
Concretely, I progressively increased quality of my works and with it the required amount of work. Hence, seriously shooting photos or videos for one night may result in one up to multiple nights of work afterwards. And depending on my agenda and other things in life, they may take days, weeks and even sometimes months to be ready.
No. It isn't. At all. (And here is a long text about "How I started tango AND photography".)"Why did you don't dance much?"
Here is a longer explanation about "Why I do not dance much"."Why did you not say Hi?" / "Why did you greet although we don't know each other?" / "Why don't you remember my name?"
Some things to consider first at that I am myopic from one eye and astigmatic from the other. And I am not much extrovert.
Then there are people who I never talked to and we never greeted. So it like a tradition not to greet with these people. Not big problem, and can be solved easily if necessary.
Then, there are so many people to greet in tango, and some are busy dancing/talking when you arrive that it is not necessarily obvious to greet so everybody you may know. Hence I always say one shouldn't take things personally unless it is obvious that it is personal.
Also, sometimes, my social memory overflows and it happens that I confuse people who I don't know that much yet. And sometimes some people look similar. Some women in tango dress and with hair attached by groups of up to three or four."During the (Brussels) festival, you (the "official" photographers) should split responsibility to shoot each event among the "group" so that would make less work in the end."
Such a complex thought but I heard at least two or three times.
It is a wrong idea.
It is not that there is any kind of harsh competition but there is no team work either.
One reason is that we are not there to fulfil some "reporting" requirement, but we (most of us I guess) see photo as technical-artistic creation. Hence each photographer wants to shoot the events he feels inspired about and each has his own style of shooting and editing. So this idea would not benefit to photographers.
And it would not benefit to the festival either. That's a guess, but as most things are not centralised on the official site and each photographer/video maker publishes their work on their own channels, the festival gets even more visibility the way it is.If there are advertisements at the start of your YouTube videos, do you get money from them?
No. I think that it would be fair if it was the case, given the fact that I don't get much money back from photography. But no, it goes to copyright owner of the soundtrack. And of course a part of it goes to YouTube.
When YouTube detects a copyright content in the soundtrack, all revenues for the video automatically go to soundtrack the copyright owners. I think that, in one hand, this system is great because it legitimise an "approximate fair use" or copyrighted music without requiring to run after a copyright agreement every time you use such music. On the other hand, it is unfair because the soundtrack is not the whole creation in itself. I think that the person who created the video should get a share of the revenue, and, thinking of my tango videos, in an ideal world, the maestros and other people involved in the making should get something as well.