by Christopher Duggan
This November I moved into a new office space with a fully equipped photo studio, perfect for solo sessions with dancers looking for new portraits for their portfolios. I recently broke in my new space with Caleb Teicher, an 18-year-old dancer who just won a 2011 Bessie for his performance with Michelle Dorrance’s tap company, Dorrance Dance.
I knew Caleb wanted a new head shot along with some dance images, but I didn’t have any direction beyond that. He arrived at the studio completely open to the creative process, and we started the session with little else but trust in each other. Everything flowed wonderfully, resulting in a steady stream of charismatic images showcasing his signature style.
As dancers, what approach have you taken in studio sessions? What direction (or how much direction) would you like to have from your photographer? And most importantly, what is the dance portrait? What makes the portrait useful to you and why?
Is a “dance portrait” one that features a dance move? Of these images I’m showing, which is the one that personifies “dance portrait” the most?
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-based dance photographer, he has worked with renowned choreographers and performers of international acclaim as well as upstarts in the city’s diverse performance scene.
He has created studio shots of Gallim Dance, Skybetter + Associates and Zvidance, among others, and in 2011 alone, he has photographed WestFest at Cunningham Studios, Dance From the Heart for Dancers Responding to Aids, The Gotham Dance Festival at The Joyce Theater, and assisted Nel Shelby Productions in filming Vail International Dance Festival.
Duggan often teams up with his talented wife and Pillow videographer Nel Shelby (http://nelshelby.com). A New York City-based husband and wife dance documentation team, they are equipped to document performances, create and edit marketing videos and choreography reels, and much more.
Christopher Duggan Photography also covers Manhattan’s finest wedding venues, the Metropolitan and Tri-State areas, and frequently travels to destination weddings. The company’s mission is straightforward and heartfelt – create timeless, memorable images of brides, grooms, their families and friends, and capture special moments of shared love, laughter and joy.
His photographs appear in The New York Times, Destination I Do, Photo District News, Boston Globe, Financial Times, Dance Magazine, Munaluchi Bridal, and Bride & Bloom, among other esteemed publications and popular wedding blogs. One of his images of Bruce Springsteen was added to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s celebrated photography collection in 2010. His company has been selected for inclusion in “The Listings” in New York Weddings magazine.