by Christopher Duggan
I’ve photographed and filmed a lot of top-notch ballet this summer. Nel and I wrapped our fourth season at Vail International Dance Festival, where we filmed some performances by international dance stars from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and more. Artistic Director Damian Woetzel outdid himself this year, creating beautiful new partnerships and sharing dance classics and world premieres.
Highlights from International Evenings of Dance, video by Nel Shelby Productions
Tiler Peck, Robbie Fairchild, Daniel Ulbricht and other incredible dancers from New York City Ballet performed in Vail, and it was exciting to see them in new roles, after photographing them this summer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
I photographed the dress rehearsal of Daniel Ulbricht/BALLET 2014 at Jacob’s Pillow like I do every performance, every week. But I also had the rare opportunity to photograph a live performance of BALLET 2014 from the front of the house.
I also made portraits with Daniel Ulbricht, Georgina Pazcoguin, Tiler Peck & Robert Fairchild. Tiler & Robbie are beautiful dancers and newlyweds. We made two portraits together on the Pillow grounds, and then we went and did some pictures on my trampoline.
I know they just got married, and, as a friendly gesture from me to them, I wanted to make a romantic portrait. That’s where that lift came from. An intersection of weddings and dance right there!
Georgina Pazcoguin found time in her busy dance week to come over and make pictures on the trampoline too. I’ve photographed Gina for American Dance Machine and she is creative and fun. She saw some of my daughter Gracie’s balls in our yard, said we should use them for some of the photos we were making, and it turned into a really great portrait!
Daniel Ulbricht had an extremely busy week, but we found time for him to come over to our house and make pictures. Our daughter Gracie jumped with Daniel on the trampoline, and our 13-year-old cousin Mary, also a ballet dancer, was just over the moon when Daniel said he would make a picture on the trampoline with her too. It was definitely the highlight of her summer! Daniel is gracious, generous and thoughtful, and we had a great time.
Nel and I feel so blessed to work with such mindblowingly talented dancers. We’ve always loved going to the ballet in NYC, and now, high-caliber ballet performances are everywhere we go.
He photographs dancers in the studio and in performance, for promotional materials, portraits and press, and he often collaborates with his wife, Nel Shelby, and her Manhattan-based dance film and video editing company Nel Shelby Productions (nelshelby.com). Together, they have documented dance at performances from New York City to Vail International Dance Festival.
Christopher Duggan Photography also covers the finest wedding venues in the Metropolitan and Tri-State areas, in Massachusetts and the Berkshires, and frequently travels to destination weddings.
His photographs appear in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Knot, Destination I Do, Photo District News, Boston Globe, Financial Times, Dance Magazine, and Munaluchi Bridal, among other esteemed publications and popular dance and wedding blogs. One of his images of Bruce Springsteen was added to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and his dance photography has been exhibited at The National Museum of Dance and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
His Natural Light Studio (http://www.christopherduggan.com/portfolio/natural-light-studio-jacobs-pillow-photography/) at Jacob’s Pillow is his most ambitious photography project to date – check out his blog to see more portraits of dance artists in his pop-up photo studio on the Pillow grounds.