Ray Batchelor writes:
“Downloaded from Wikimedia Commons. Beyond believing what most sources indicate – that these are men, that they are dancing with each other in a street in Buenos Aires at some time in the 20th century, I can say little about what is shown in this image with certainty. I also believe an original photograph is held in the Archivo General de la Nación in Buenos Aires.
So, speculations: It looks like night-time – early morning, perhaps? They are on the pavement, in front of a shop with a shutter pulled down, which gives a little indication of the type of street. From the men’s fashions – especially the deep crowns of their hats – I am inclined to think 1925-1935. Is the man, second left wearing spats? All are well-dressed, probably for a night out. They look relaxed. Are they dancing, or posing? Possibly both, but the figure craned over the bandneon player suggests little formal group posing, and only one figure – second from the left – is actually looking at the photographer. The bandneon player is sat on the ledge of the window; another figure is sat on a crate with printing on the side (I cannot work out what he is holding up) and between the two are perhaps three further figures. All of these five of these look like juveniles. If we are to push the speculation further, might not these younger men be with their more senior, male, tango mentors? Perhaps they are known to them from one of the all-male prácticas referred to in the literature (Denniston springs to mind)? And might not four of them be posing/dancing in couples by way of a little light-hearted, late night instruction?
I doubt we can ever know exactly what is going on, but it would be interesting to know what information the Archivo General de la Nación has on the photograph, with a date and location, perhaps. Also, taking a photograph like this at night, must have been no easy task unless there happened to be bright lighting. So how and why was the photograph taken?
In 2016, this image is important. As is the way in an age of digital reproduction, this highly suggestive image is perhaps the most reproduced onee said to show “tango history”. Quite what it is said to show varies enormously depending on the views of the people appropriating it. Because so little reliable information is in the (Anglophone, at least) public domain, the range of meanings inferred is enormous, sometime contradictory and certainly warrants study.”
What do you belive the copyright status of this image to be?
Ray Batchelor believes: “The image is out of copyright.”
The image url: