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Christopher Duggan

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Photographing Dance in the Natural Light Studio

Posted: 08/02/2012 3:52 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 behind The Ted Shawn Theatre. (I shared some examples of these on 4dancers.org in January.) The landscape around the space has changed -- there are more buildings, the Pillow Pub, the Doris Duke, and the vegetation has grown -- but it's still a perfect place to photograph dance in the natural light of the beautiful Berkshires sun.

I've also felt inspired by Richard Avedon's simple, powerful portraits on white, but the set-up of my Natural Light Studio itself was inspired by my friend (and photography hero) Clay Enos. I wanted to do something similar to his Street Studio at Jacob's Pillow, and he graciously told me how to construct the outdoor studio and encouraged me to enjoy the new creative space.

So for the last few weeks, I have been playing in my new studio with dancers from Morphoses, Inside/Out, The School at Jacob's Pillow, Yin Yue Dance, Tero Saarinen and many more.

There is such a richness of artistry and talent that passes through the Pillow each week, and I want to invite as many artists as possible to work with me in the new studio for quick five-minute portrait sessions. I hope that by the end of the summer I will have photographed a few hundred artists. I'm well on my way, and I'm excited to see what else develops!

This article first appeared on 4dancers.org

Yin Yue in my Natural Light Studio
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