I haven’t done a lot of dance portraits, but it’s shaping up to be my next big area of creative development, especially with a new studio to work in.
I really struggle with the question “What is a dance portrait?” I photograph people all the time. I’m a people photographer. But is a portrait of a dancer dancing a “dance portrait”? Or is a photo of a dancer a “dance portrait” simply because she or he is a dancer? Does it need to be in costume or dance clothes? If it’s a singular image standing alone, does there have to be some indication of dance in it? Like the background or the location? When you have a celebrity dancer like Baryshnikov, a portrait of him is always a dance portrait, but what about an unknown dancer?
Perhaps I need to stop asking so many questions, not worry about it and just go shoot some portraits?
Here is a personal friend and an incredible dancer and performer, Jenny Mendez. And three different ways I saw her. Photographed recently in my studio in NYC.
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.