by Christopher Duggan
My job at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival allows me to experiment with different angles and types of shots and practice how these different approaches to dance photography can aid the festival and the company in different ways. When Lar Lubovitch Dance Company performed at the Ted Shawn Theatre, I was able to photograph dress rehearsal from the front of the house as well as performances from backstage.
My front of house photo session was all about getting “the shot” for the press reviewing the dances. In order to get a great shot for press I have a few things on my mind: shoot horizontal, don’t cut off hands or feet or toes, show the choreography, find trios and small groups, look for “signature” moments that showcase the piece.
Backstage, without these constraints, I was able to capture the dances more playfully. I was only feet away from the dancers and so I paid closer attention to the dancers’ facial expressions, catching little momentary exchanges between them and moments of emotional connection with the choreography. The life in the backstage photos makes them a terrific fit for marketing materials. The images are much closer and more intimate, you can see the dancers’ personalities and the hard work that goes into their performance.
You can see more of my photos from front of house vs. backstage on my blog at: http://blog.christopherduggan.com/2011/09/jacob%E2%80%99s-pillow-dance-festival-lar-lubovitch-dance-company/
Contributor Christopher Duggan is the founder and principal photographer of Christopher Duggan Photography, a New York City-based wedding and dance photography studio. Duggan has been the Festival Photographer for Jacob’s Pillow Dance since 2006. In this capacity, and as a respected New York dance photographer, he has worked with renowned choreographers and performers of international acclaim as well as upstarts in the city’s diverse performance scene. Duggan often teams up with his talented wife and Pillow videographer Nel Shelby. A husband and wife dance documentation team, they are equipped to document performances, create and edit marketing videos and choreography reels, and much more. Visit Christopher online at www.christopherduggan.com.