A few months ago, I received a phone call from the National Museum of Dance. The call was out of the blue, and after a brief introduction, they asked if I’d be interested in doing a year-long exhibition in their central gallery starting this May. All I could think was “Wow!” and when I asked them how they found my work, I was surprised to hear that they found me on Facebook. I was only at the museum once before when my friend was getting married in Saratoga Springs in 2007. Walking through the exhibits and looking at all of the historical photographs, I found myself wondering if one day my own images might make an impact and hang in a museum to demonstrate the importance of a particular moment in dance history. At first I couldn’t believe I had been asked to showcase my work at the museum…that I’m now included on the short-list of the museum’s previously exhibited dance photographers like Paul Kolnik, who has been shooting New York City Ballet forever; Lois Greenfield, who has photographed everyone and everyone recognizes her images; and Rose Eichenbaum, who has made such an impact with her photographs and books, not to mention the fact that she has worked with every important person in the dance world. The museum was specifically interested in showcasing my photographs of dance performances at Inside/Out at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. For me shooting at Inside/Out is very personal—it’s my favorite place to shoot dance, it’s what I find to be the most challenging space to shoot dance, and it’s the place that in a single image encapsulates the feeling you get when you’re on campus at Jacob’s Pillow. It’s so special to be exhibited at the National Museum of Dance and even more special to share these particular dance photographs.

One of the 15 images I chose to display in my National Museum of Dance exhibition

  Curators at the National Museum of Dance were open to me using the space however I wished, and my immediate thought was to make a few large prints. I had never printed anything really large before—only once before had one of my images been printed on a grander scale—and the space was suitable to the scale I imagined would fit with the feeling you get watching dance at Inside/Out. Dancers on the stage at Inside/Out perform underneath trees that are 60-80 feet tall. These are huge trees, and yet they’re dwarfed by the sky and the surrounding atmosphere. It’s like dancing under the heavens. The exhibition is titled: Christopher Duggan at Inside/Out in Celebration of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s 80th Season  It’s wonderful that this photographic exhibition coincides with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s 80th season. It’s the perfect tie-in. Visit my page on the National Museum of Dance exhibit to find more about the gallery opening on May 30.

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