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Christopher Duggan
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Christopher Duggan is a regular contributor to, a blog for dancers, dance teachers and others who love dance.

He is also 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 the past year 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. 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 finds that his experience as a dance photographer has improved his work as a wedding photographer and vice versa. Christopher Duggan Photography covers Manhattan’s finest wedding venues, the Metropolitan and Tri-State areas, the Berkshires and destination weddings worldwide. 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.

You can contact Christopher or view more samples of his work at or by emailing, liking him on Facebook and following him on Twitter.

Entries by Christopher Duggan

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2014 - Daniel Ulbricht/Ballet 2014

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 12:05 PM


Fancy Free performed in BALLET 2014/Daniel Ulbricht at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

I 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 performances by...

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Trey McIntyre Project's Farewell at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 5:23 AM


This summer at Jacob's Pillow marked Trey McIntyre Project's last performances as a professional dance company before Trey moves on to other projects. I've photographed the dance company before, and I've always loved Trey's choreography.

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Jacob's Pillow Dance: Looking Forward To Summer 2014

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 11:07 AM

2014-06-07-Unknown2.jpeg Dance Heginbotham at Jacob's Pillow

Every June, my wife, dance videographer Nel Shelby, and I move back into our cabin in the Berkshires to spend the summer filming and photographing the incredible artists who perform at Jacob's Pillow Dance...

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Brian Brooks And Run Don't Run

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 7:21 PM


I've known Brian Brooks for a few years now, and we've become closer and closer friends through filming with Nel Shelby Productions for Wendy Whelan's Restless Creature, photographing his work at The Joyce, Dance From the Heart by Dancers Responding to AIDS and...

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Natural Light Studio at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival - Year 2

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 12:59 PM


My Natural Light Studio at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival is a personal project that I started last year. There is a deck right behind the Ted Shawn Theatre where dance photographer John Lindquist made many, many photos.

I set up a simple...

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Wendy Whelan - A National Treasure

(1) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 3:14 PM


There's just something about Wendy.


I never really had such all-access permission to follow such a star here on campus at Jacob's Pillow. Wendy Whelan let me in her dressing room and while warming up in...

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Favorite Photos From Inside/Out at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2013

(1) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 12:09 PM

You all know by now that Inside/Out -- the outdoor festival stage at Jacob's Pillow -- is my absolute favorite place to photograph dancers. The Pillow's outdoor stage is magical. The trees, the mountains, the sky. Everything is perfect -- as long as the weather cooperates!

The festival...

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Returning to Jacob's Pillow

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 12:23 PM


Jamal Jackson Dance Company

by Christopher Duggan

I've been waiting 10 long months for this.

Every year, I am so excited to return to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, to photograph amazing dancers and festival life and settle back in to our cozy...

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Photographing Wendy Whelan In Restless Creature

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2013 | 11:11 PM

Wendy Whelan & Brian Brooks

My wife Nel Shelby, a dance videographer, and I have been coming into rehearsals with longtime New York City Ballet dancer and international ballet superstar Wendy Whelan as she creates work with...

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Photography for the Joffrey Ballet's Season Brochure

(1) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 11:59 AM

Video by Nel Shelby Productions

When The Joffrey Ballet asked if I was willing to go to Chicago for three days to photograph their dancers for their 2013-2014 season brochure, I was thrilled. Arranging the photo shoot to fit the dancers' schedules was so tight, there was only one week to make it work for all of us. It just so happened that was the week Hurricane Sandy was rolling into New York City.

The night before my wife Nel, daughter Gracie and I were supposed to fly to Chicago, all the flights were cancelled. There wasn't any chance of rescheduling the shoot. So we piled our cameras in the car, quickly prepped for the 13-hour drive and hit the road before the rain. I'm so glad we did.

I brought my assistant Whitney Browne with me from NYC, because working together as a team helps get things right so much faster. We discussed ahead of time the looks we were going for in terms of lighting and backdrop, and we were able to order the equipment to get the set ready. I brought my cameras and rented everything else locally. The rental company made things super easy for us as they delivered everything right to us. And they delivered for FREE which is unheard of in NYC. That was an added bonus!

Joffrey gave me two days to work five different setups with the dancers, which was great. We scheduled three-hour time slots for each of the five performance programs, starting with Romeo & Juliet. The dancers arrived early to have hair, make-up and costumes ready for shooting. Each three-hour shoot ends up resulting in 1-3 final photographs that get used in the brochure and other marketing materials.

Ashley C. Wheater, the Artistic Director, myself, the creative team, and sometimes, the dancers all bring ideas to the table. So it's good to have a few hours to work out different kinds of scenarios. It's always good to leave room to improve on different poses and movements and room for spontaneity, too.

Once the photo shoot is complete, I made selections and worked on the images in a post-production process that involved some "clean up," making sure all the images were consistent in color, contrast, exposure, etc. I played with some creative cropping on a few of the final photographs, and then I delivered them to Joffrey.

From there, The Joffrey's creative staff go through their selection process and turn the images over to their internal graphics department to create the brochure and overall graphic design concepts. I had no part in that process, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the gorgeous layouts that they made. I was proud of what we did together.

See the full finished season brochure on my blog.

This post was originally published on

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Working Women at The Joyce Theater

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2013 | 5:00 PM

The Joyce Theater's Working Women performances were so cool, because I know all the talented women involved. I've worked with them all before at The Joyce or Gotham Arts or at Jacob's Pillow. I have histories with them, and working at this dance performance...

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Dance Artist Portraits in my Natural Light Studio at Jacob's Pillow

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 12:26 PM

Kassandra Cruz and Alonso Guzman

I had been dreaming for a few seasons about making portraits of the incredible dancers, choreographers and artists that come to the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival each week. In 2012 I put it into action: the...

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Falling in Love With Dance

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2013 | 5:45 PM


One of my very first jobs in New York City was working at the box office at The Joyce Theater. Ballet Hispanico performed that season. The company danced Good Night Paradise by Ramon Oller, and I was totally taken away. It swept me off...

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Photographing Alvin Ailey's Dance Gala

(3) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 11:30 AM

Alvin Ailey dancers perform "Minus 16"

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...

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Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival: Then and Now

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2012 | 10:19 AM

It's Jacob's Pillow's 80th anniversary, and if you've had the chance to visit the Pillow, you'll know that every year Norton Owen creates a beautiful exhibit in Blake's Barn. This summer's exhibit is the Decades of Dance and features photographs spanning the festival's 80 years. I've always been...

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Photographing the Joffrey Ballet

(3) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 6:48 PM

Derrick Agnoletti of the Joffrey Ballet in Son of Chamber Symphony; photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.

Last week marked the end of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival's 80th Anniversary, and I found myself scrambling from one dress rehearsal to the other...

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Photographing Dance in the Natural Light Studio

(3) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 4:52 PM

Every summer, I dream of ways to make more art at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. I love photographing performances, and you know Inside/Out is my favorite space to shoot dance, but I was craving more. I've always been inspired by John Lindquist's dance photos on the elevated platform...

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Gotham Dance Festival in New York City

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2012 | 7:58 PM

My wife Nel and I have been filming and photographing dance for years, and we can't seem to get enough of the dance festival experience. Festivals offer a different kind of excitement that you don't always see during one company's week-long run in the theater. They're jam-packed with different dancers,...

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National Museum Of Dance: Art In The Foyer 2012

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2012 | 4:26 PM

Last night was the opening of my year-long exhibition at the National Museum of Dance, and it was a really exciting moment in my artistic career -- not just because any curation of my work is incredibly flattering, but because the photographs I chose to display all showcase...

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Dance Photography -- The Instagram Challenge

(2) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 7:40 PM

I went to see a DanceNOW showcase of emerging artists this month held at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. I was not going to photograph the showcase -- just see some new work and meet some new people. But whenever I watch dance, I see pictures, and...

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