Finnish tango 2005

This portfolio contains the documentation of my time as the local guide to a Swiss documentary team. Their topic was nothing less but Finnish tango and during a week mostly in rural Finland we covered many aspects of said phenomenon! It was a fun time and I got to meet interesting people and take photos too. Being impressed mostly by the dancing aspect I revisited Seinäjoki, the hub of Finnish tango, a few times. Seinäjoki is the epicentre of Finnish tango because of the annual Tango festival (Tangomarkkinat) where contestants battle for the title of tango queen and tango king (singing contest). Less attraction receives the fact that simultaneously just down the road so to speak the Finnish tango dancing contest is being held.

ProjectFinnish tangoCreatorkurkistaYear2005

This photography series evolves around three main themes: 1. Singer/songwriters that have or are contributing to Finnish tango, featuring Nikolai Blad, M.A. Numminen and Harri Kaitila. The latter two we only met briefly for an interview (Numminen) and a song recording session (Kaitila) whereas we got to spend two days with Nikolai Blad and his partner Ulla Maria a singer herself at their place in Joutsa. 2. Dancing. We met with two very ambitious dancers Johanna Lahtinen and Frans Kärki (a descendant of Toivo Kärki, an important composer during WWII who helped shape Finnish tango) who we followed throughout the Finnish tango dancing contest in Seinäjoki during Tangomarkkinat. I was taken by the passion of the dancers and lavatanssi (special venues where amateurs in the true sense of the word meet to dance) culture in general. 3. Singing Finnish tango, a highly commercialised form and a brand in its own right. The singing contest is broadcast live on tv (MTV3, 1985-2008 and then YLE, National broadcast company 2009 onwards). Next to Finnish schlager which I consider Finnish tango a part of, probably has to be considered a niche.

If you can do view the photos on a screen, they are all scaled to HD size. A brief explanation is shown when you hover your mouse pointer over the photo and when you click on it the photo will open up in a lightbox. For the festival I was accredited as a photographer with backstage access and even was allowed onto the stage to take photos, something not included in regular accreditation. I probably should have chosen less photos to be shown here, but eventually couldn’t eliminate anymore. Enjoy the hundred and something photographs left.

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