Finis: Photographing Alvin Ailey’s Gala
by Christopher Duggan
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater hosts gorgeous and energetic galas at New York City Center every year. Photographing the Gala means capturing exciting moments on stage as well as the many smiling guests. Mo’Nique was the honorary chair this year, and I caught New York Times photographer (and my hero) Bill Cunningham talking with Ailey dancers.
This season, the always-incredible dancers performed Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, pulling audience members on stage — and the crowd went wild for the honorary dancers!
It was one of Renee Robinson’s last performances with the Alvin Ailey company. She carried her signature umbrella in the world-famous Revelations. The score for the work was sung live by Jessye Norman, Anika Noni Rose, and Brian Stokes Mitchell.
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.