Do ballerinas say “Cheese”?

James McDougall photographing a set at the Royal Opera House, London

My neighbour James McDougall was a gifted photographer. He recorded for posterity the nearly all the sets used by the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera between 1962 or ’63 and the early 2000s.

I used to bump into him at a local pub sometimes, but I feel as though I’ve got to know him much better since his premature death.

So why mention him today? Three reasons. As a photographer, he seemed an apt person to talk about for this week’s Loose Bloggers Consortium topic – focus. Another reason is that the Royal Opera House in London has just recently put a collection of his photographs online. You can see them here.

And thirdly, as James’s passing reminded me, “you know not the day nor the hour” – so why not focus on that which brings satisfaction. Like he did with his photography.

James also photographed more informal scenes and celebrities. I hope to delve into his private archive for you in the near future. (He also left a vast store of British, American and German photographic magazines. If anyone is interested in having them, let me know.)

In the meantime, here’s one of James’s technical pics.

Marguerite and Armand 2002 – Royal Ballet – photographed by James McDougall

According to the notes – This 2002 production of Marguerite and Armand with Sylvie Guillem and Nicolas de Riche, was a revival of the ballet originally performed on 12th March 1963, with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev in the title roles. (There’s more information at the website.)

While we’re focussing on the topic focus, you might want to check out what the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium have come up with on the subject. You’ll find them listed in the links column a bit further down on the right hand side of your screen.


Filed under art, D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, friends, In the village, Music, theatre

13 responses to “Do ballerinas say “Cheese”?

  1. Elton John – that ballerina song he does – one of my favs.

  2. Looks like James McDougall got to follow his passion. When work and passion are one and the same, it is easy to jump out of bed in the morning!

  3. Lots Of Good Links To Investigate this weekend.Thank You .!

  4. THOROUGHLY enjoyed the link to his collection of photographs at the Royal Opera House.

  5. Damn my interwebz is appalling so can’t access will wait for highspeed but the samples you offer are marvellous.
    Very topical for moi as I am working on staging a play in an extremely large theatre with a smallish set.

  6. So do ballerinas say cheese? Or do they say Pas de deux?

    I love the photo on your post. Even without the ballet connection, it would still be intriguing and atmospheric.

  7. Checked out James McDougall’s online collection … stunning.

  8. Wow! Some photographer that. And what a tribute with the topic for the LBC.

  9. Quite a man…great photographic skills…he left a fine legacy 🙂

  10. That’s quite an artistic collection of photographs. I wonder how he decided which ones would be in color and which would be in black and white… Truly a gifted photographer.

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