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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Magic Man

Logic only gives man what he needs...Magic gives him what he wants.” ~ Tom Robbins


On Saturday, at 8a.m., on a fogged-in San
Francisco morning, I think I started a whole new love affair...

With portraiture.


These photos are from my very first real photo shoot, not with a building or a flower, but with a willing human being, a fabulously talented and quite photogenic man named Christian Cagigal.

Christian, you may remember from an earlier post, is a magician. (And an actor as well with the famous/infamous San Francisco Mime Troupe, but right now to me he is Christian the
Magician.) I met Christian after seeing his highly imaginative and enthralling one-man show, The Pandora Experiment. And now, I'm happy to say that he's a new friend, too.


Christian and I arranged to take some photos for the next production of The Pandora Experiment, which will be opening in late July, and then to take new photos for his show that will be premiering in New York at the Fringe Festival and which is still in development.

We wandered all over Golden Gate Park, in the mist and fog, amongst the carousel horses, thickets of trees and underground passageways, carrying two trunks filled with his magical devices. I blew through two sets of batteries and filled a 2GB memory card full of images (that's a first) and came home with several hundred photos.

I am so thrilled with the outcome. It's more than I could have even asked for on a first attempt.
I feel like I've been given a magic box, and when I hold it in my hands, I can communicate with anyone in the world.

My magic box is my camera.


See what you think. Here's a sampling, and more can be found here.


Christina June 15, 2008 at 11:46 AM  

Might I say you rock with that camera/magic box of yours! You didn't necessarily have a difficult subject :) He's very handsome!!

I am down right blown away by your photography my friend.

Anonymous June 15, 2008 at 12:53 PM  

You are so blippin' talented TB. You've found your calling!

RealityPivots June 15, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

Exceedingly excellent.
Your metier.

Tina June 15, 2008 at 3:43 PM  

Honey, you are talented! And he is cute!

You're welcome to come to Buenos Aires anytime to take my picture. :-)

Debbi June 15, 2008 at 4:25 PM  

You have a really lovely eye for composition. Really good! :-)

La Tanguera June 15, 2008 at 6:07 PM  

Dear TB,

These are truly magical photos! :)

Thank you, because every time I visit your blog I find something beautiful and inspiring (I really don't know how you do it, but what I can tell you is that in those moments I really wish I were like you ;)).


Christian Cagigal June 15, 2008 at 6:46 PM  

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! All of these are ROCK!!!

You really captured the look and feel that I was hoping to have for these photo's. I know it took tons of time on your part so, thank you again for all of your support and work.


Relyn June 15, 2008 at 8:35 PM  

These pictures are ... well, I won't use magical. Too obvious a pun. Still, they have the feeling that a magician would want to portray. You've got it. They are wonderful.

I have to agree with realitypivots and johanna. I think you found your "thing."


You are so disgustingly talented. I just love that about you!

Vanessa June 16, 2008 at 4:40 AM  

Congratulations! The photos are stunning!

karey m. June 16, 2008 at 5:02 AM  

talented! understatement. understatement.

these are stunning...

Mélanie June 16, 2008 at 6:26 AM  

I love your portraits ! You have an huge talent !
I've just discovered you and your blog but I will check each day to see more

NYC Tango Pilgrim June 16, 2008 at 8:27 AM  


These are great shots. Love the first and second one, and the BW one. Love them!

Phivos Nicolaides June 16, 2008 at 1:33 PM  

Talented and gifted persons have always great results!

paris parfait June 16, 2008 at 2:32 PM  

I think you are on to something - love your photography and your incredible eye! xoxox

Elizabeth June 16, 2008 at 2:33 PM  

these are wonderful.
very nice to be friends with a magician......it could come in useful

FogBay June 16, 2008 at 3:16 PM  

Great work, there are a lot of wonderful photos from your shoot. It's not your camera, it's your eye.

I too think you may have found a vocation with in portraiture.

//// (a digital pat on the back)

P.S. Also thanks for the Chihuly photo mention. I avoided the web all weekend and didn't see it until now.

christie June 16, 2008 at 5:28 PM  

Gorgeous! I LOVE the sepia toned one.

Hmmm, I need a portrait done. Perhaps a trip to SF is in order. xx

Red Shoes June 17, 2008 at 7:20 AM  

Oh! Gorgeous! TB, really, wow.


tangobaby June 17, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

Hi guys!

I have to admit I've been pretty blown away by your incredible responses! Sometimes when you do something and YOU like it, you just figure you're the only one.

I'm so happy to have the opportunity to respond to all of you. You guys are the best!

Dear Christina,

Thank you so much. I read your comment while commuting on the train and it made me grin from ear to ear. Anytime you need your picture taken, you let me know, okay? (I still love the one of you with your hands over your eyes.)

Hi Johanna,

Kinda looks like that, huh? I am excited to see how my next portrait session comes out so I can tell myself this isn't some sort of wierd fluke.

Hi RealityPivots,

Thank you so much, and seeing your name here just reminded me of the wonderful dances with you in Seattle. I haven't had any like it since. *sigh*

Hi Tina,

Yay! Yeah, he IS cute, huh? I would LOVE to come to BA and take your photo. I can only imagine how delightful it would be. I know you are gorgeous.

Hi Debbi,

Sometimes it seems like I just click the button and the rest just happens by itself. But thank you!

Hi La Tanguera,

Wow. And gee, thanks! I feel the same way when I read your loving essays about tango and the research you provide with songs and history. See, we are inspiring to each other, and that's the truth.

Hi Christian,

It's me who should be thanking you. I really cannot express how much I loved the experience and how overjoyed I am to see that these photos made BOTH of us happy.

Anytime you need some more, you know where I am...

Hi Relyn,

I am picturing you looking at my photos from far away, and delighting in them just like you are sitting next to me. You always feel close by.

Hi Vanessa!

Thank you...I'll be stopping by to see what you're up to, too.

Hi Karey,

I feel like I have gotten a big hug from very far away... I have read that Love Letter post like three times now. I am going to link to it here, too.

Hi Melanie,

Welcome to my blog, and thank you for leaving a comment. I look forward to returning a visit to you in France! A bientot!

Hi TP,

Perhaps someday you will let me take your portrait, in your tango or your martial arts moods? That would be awesome.

Hi Phivos,

Thank you so much. I still feel like I have to earn that response, but I thank you all the same.

Hi Paris Parfait,

I am looking forward to taking a photo (or two, or three) of your gorgeous green eyes. Swoon.

Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and saying hello. Indeed, having a talented friend is always wonderful...I have to figure out what special angle a magician can give me. But he is extremely talented and I'm glad I could be a part of his work.

Hi FogBay,

Coming from you, my first photographic inspiration, really means a lot. Although I still feel like Luck is the bigger part of these photos and not my eye. The whole process still feels very unpracticed and random, but maybe that's my eye and I don't know it?


I think that's a hug.

Hi Christie,

That would be an honor. I know how beautiful you are. I will trade you some roasted pork loin deliciousness in exchange for a portrait session. But I think I should come to you. Food for photos!

Darling Red Shoes,

Thank you...and I have a proposition for you, my lovely artiste.


Mary-Laure June 17, 2008 at 10:48 AM  

I love what you say about your magic box being your camera. You do wonders indeed!

tangobaby June 17, 2008 at 10:57 AM  

Thank you, Mary-Laure. You always take such lovely photos, too, and I enjoy them very much.

The nice thing about my magic box is that I can take it anywhere!

Anonymous June 17, 2008 at 11:06 PM  

you've mastered your craft, most definetly. i keep going back to the suitcases.

i found your site a similar interest in margaret atwood books.

Janet June 18, 2008 at 7:11 AM  

These are fantastic! And I am so glad you liked the El Anatsui installation as much as I did...you summed it up perfectly! Cheers.

tangobaby June 18, 2008 at 10:20 AM  

Dear mrs. sarah ott,

Thank you for your feedback and welcome to my blog. I feel a bit of an imposter right now as I've only had this camera to use since Easter, and had never taken photos before.

Yes, I think Margaret Atwood is an incredible writer. Her writing is simple and brillaint at the same time...

Dear Janet,

Any mention of Venice makes me dreamy. I loved the Fortuny, perhaps even more because I didn't expect to. It haunts you.

When I see your name here, my mind conjures up very fond memories of wandering the halls of the National Gallery, walking to the Lincoln Memorial, and eating at Legal Seafood. *sigh*

Annie June 18, 2008 at 4:18 PM  

It's so wonderful to have the story behind the man after seeing all the enchanting photos on Flickr. Bravo on the accomplishment and the making of a new friend. Life can never serve up enough of them.

Christian Cagigal June 18, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

Not the NY Fringe, it's the NY FRIGID Festival....kinda like fringe but it's in late winter...get winter..FRIGID...get it....Sorry, I didn't make it up...


Anonymous June 18, 2008 at 4:53 PM  

Tangobaby, sounds like you were already an artist @ heart before you found this medium. your pictures are captivating, thought-provoking. i'll look for more.

tangobaby June 19, 2008 at 9:43 AM  

Dear Annie,

Yes, it's nice to have a little background as I think it makes the photos even more interesting. If you find yourself in SF in late July-August, his show will be playing then and you can meet Christian in person.

Hi Christian,

I was trying to make the NY Fringe Festival jealous so they would have you, too. ;-)

I'll go ahead and make that correction.

Hi mrs. sarah ott,

Thank you, thank you. Please come back anytime and say hello. As long as I have a camera and plenty of batteries, I'll be taking photos.