MEET OUR PHOTOGRAPHER, DEBBIE CASCARINO!
Debbie has been dancing tango for almost a decade. She has a deep connection to beauty, expressed through music and photography. Debbie is the photographer for every Tango Hop. She has a unique eye and attention to detail that truly captures the energy of the event. Come find her at the next hop, she can answer your questions about photography and/or tango!
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I was born right here in Philadelphia, PA
HOW DID YOU ENCOUNTER TANGO?
I actually began with ballroom dancing in 1999, both international style and american-social style. I was always too shy to get up on any dance floor. I started it and I enjoyed it because I loved the music. After 2006, I said, “Argentine Tango is the one thing I never tried and it looks interesting”. That’s how I decided to see what it was all about. So, I started taking both private and group lessons with Lori Coyle, here at her Tango studio in Media, in March 2006.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PHOTOGRAPHER?
I started taking serious photography around 1978. It started at first just to record my travels. Then I became really interested in capturing nature and landscapes spontaneously, more than just a travel log. Then I did a lot of traveling with photography groups and Smithsonian Institute. I love the wild areas, like national parks for example. And every time you go out the skills develop more and more, and you get your own eye, your own style.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO TANGO?
It’s hard to say don’t be inhibited, but it could be a very inhibiting thing, especially if you’re not used to dancing close with somebody and instead you’re used to rock-n-roll jiggling on the floor, this is going to be a very different experience. I think we’re all self conscious. I came from a ballroom background and was worried that I wouldn’t do it right. But, when you start off with people in class, you’re all on the same team and in the same position. And people who have been dancing longer always remember that they were at your level one time. So people are generally helpful.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TANGO IN 3 WORDS?
Listening. Feeling. Following.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT EXCHANGING ROLES?
Because I was a follower all during ballroom and all those years, I find it very hard to make that switch. So, I guess I just prefer to be a follower. I am more comfortable following. But, I do think tango is making me a better follower, even if I were to go back to ballroom, because you listen to the music and your leader.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TANGO SONG/ORQUESTRA?
I love “Vals”. I love the tempo, I feel like I’m floating.
WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES (BESIDES TANGO OR PHOTOGRAPHY) DO YOU ENJOY?
I enjoy being outdoors, just taking walks, not deep in the woods, but just on little trails…One of my favorite places to go close by is Cape May with all of the wildlife, the birds, the flowers, and the dunes. I just enjoy walking, always with my camera though, it’s always there. I enjoy sharing it with friends who come with me.
IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE LOTTERY, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
First of all, enjoy the sense of financial security. Then, I think I’d get involved with environmental groups and do something helpful towards environment or nature. I’d Continue to travel to these types of places I love to be in. To enjoy it for yourself and also give back by helping.
WHAT’S SOMETHING SECRETLY AWESOME ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW?
They probably know that I might come across as quiet and shy, but I am very easily emotionally touched by music, by feelings, and I guess sometimes I keep it to myself. I grew up in a musical family. My mother was an opera singer, a soprano, and we had classical music and opera playing in our house from the moment I was born. I have heard and been around beautiful music, and I guess sometimes it just gets into your system, and you respond. For no reason, you well up because it’s such a beautiful thing.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I’ve often looked at what I’ve done with my photography and I link it with me growing up in this wonderful classical music family because I think that this beauty you see with your eye – the composition, the lighting – has a lot to do with music. It’s touching the same place. It comes from the same place. It comes from the same spot. My mom was an opera singer, my uncle a classical composer, but my artistic expression came out through my photography.