Dara Holmes of The Joffrey Ballet at Jacob’s Pillow (2018) by Christopher Duggan

Now & Then: Evocative Dance Portraits at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival by Christopher Duggan

by | May 24, 2022 | Dance

As a dance photographer, I’ve already had the opportunity to live out several of my biggest dreams:

  • My photos have appeared in full color on the front page of the Arts & Leisure section in The New York Times, and they’ve been featured in publications like The Boston Globe and Dance Magazine… 
  • I had a year-long photography exhibition at the National Museum of Dance
  • I’ve been Festival Photographer for Jacob’s Pillow since 2005, and this summer will be my second year as Festival Photographer for Vail Dance Festival 

My first experiences photographing dance were only possible because my wife Nel Shelby was filming dance companies and encouraged me to tag along since I was interested.

As my skills and my passion for dance grew, I joined Nel Shelby Productions on more and more projects and soon began working with more and more world-renowned companies. 

This summer, more of my dance photography dreams are coming true:

  • My photos will be featured in a summer-long exhibition in the main exhibition space at Jacob’s Pillow, America’s longest-running dance festival (the 90th Anniversary Season) and National Historic Landmark
  • I will participate in my own PillowTalk about the photographs in this exhibition with colleagues at the Pillow

I’m sharing dates and more details about each because I’d really love to see you at the Pillow this summer!  

I also want to share with you more of my biggest dance dreams… because when you speak your dreams aloud, they’re so much more likely to come true! 

It’s on my bucket list to work more internationally with dancers in the coming years. I would particularly love to travel to photograph the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and to Paris Opera Ballet. (Do you know anyone there?! Please introduce me!!)

I am looking to create ongoing relationships with dance companies to support them by photographing their performances & premieres and also promote their creative process, company culture, and the individual artists and collaborators that make the work. This could also mean regularly meeting to create rehearsal images and creative portraiture in addition to performance shots.

Is this you? Or do you know of companies that are looking for this kind of support? 

I’m constantly meeting incredible artists through work with Nel Shelby Productions, the Pillow, Vail, and by introductions from YOU. And I am constantly inspired by these artists’ abilities to take a dream project and make it a reality. 

If you’re reading this, thank you for continuing to inspire me. You support my dreams and that is not lost on me! 

MADBOOTS Dance at Jacob’s Pillow (2015) by Christopher Duggan


Exhibition: Now & Then: Evocative Dance Portraits by Christopher Duggan

Dates: June 22–August 28, 2022
Location: Blake’s Barn at Jacob’s Pillow
Hours: Tues–Sun, 12pm ET–Final Curtain

PillowTalk: Christopher Duggan: Now & Then

Date: Saturday, July 2, 2022 at 4pm ET
Location: Blake’s Barn at Jacob’s Pillow



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