It's no secret just how much I love working with all of my Berkshire Wedding Collective members, and Christopher Duggan is someone I got to know long before the launch of this group. It gives me great joy to post this interview, because I know how awesome Christopher is...he's interesting, super talented and absolutely ADORES his family. Always refreshing to see someone whose success is balanced both in and out of the studio!
Tara: Tell me how you got started in your business.
Christopher: I think it was in 1995 when I was at a college friend's wedding. I was watching the photographer do set up shots that looked so boring to me and there was so much love and fun happening around him that either he didn't see or was simply ignoring. The little moments of people coming together, laughing, talking, all in loving support of the couple and the family, that stuff was so interesting and beautiful to me. I remember that really sticking out to me and I thought "this is the good stuff." It was years later that I started my wedding work, but the seed was planted in that moment.
Tara: What is your ideal Friday night?
Christopher: Rehearsal dinner around the pool, near the beach. Sunset portraits on the beach with the couple. Making pictures of a fun evening of laughter and friends and family being together celebrating the beginning of an awesome wedding weekend and the beginning of a new life together for the couple.
Tara: What is something you like to do during your free time?
Christopher: Cook dinner on the grill. Tickle my children. Hang together with my family with nothing to do.
Tara: When you travel, what do you like to do?
Christopher: My wife and I work so hard, when we travel we like to sit by the pool, get sun, read books, make great food, take cool swims and just relax together.
Tara: What is the last book you read?
Christopher: I'm reading "The Power of Now" and loving it. The last book I finished was "The E-Myth". That was the best small business owner's book I have ever read. It was like Michael Gerber wrote the book for me. I've solved many of my business "problems" with the help of that book.
Tara: What is the best advice you've ever received?
Christopher: I think professionally, the best advice came from "The Four Agreements" when the author wrote, "Don't take things personally." As a photographer for weddings I am an artist and a business man. It's hard to work through some business issues with clients without having my artist's feelings get in the way. When I was first starting out I was hanging on my clients' every word (and worries and fears). Years later I can now separate my art from business and not take things so hard. I'm much more confident now and I think it helps put my clients at ease.
Tara: What movie genre do you prefer?
Christopher: I love documentaries, but I also love suspense movies like "The Departed". My all-time favorite movies are "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Elf". I cry every time I watch either one.
Tara: What is the last movie you saw in theaters?
Christopher: Haha. My daughter is 5 so the last movie I saw was Frozen.
Tara: Which music genre do you prefer?
Christopher: I love Pop music! Maybe because I'm at weddings all the time and there's the latest dance music playing, I don't know. I used to hate Pop, now that's all I want to listen to.
Tara: Your idea of adventure is:
Christopher: A trip to a new place, wandering around on foot with no agenda and meeting lots of new people.
Tara: How do you like your steak cooked?
Christopher: On my grill!
Tara: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?
Christopher: My beautiful wife and my two kids.
Tara: What is one thing you'll do this year to step outside your comfort zone?
Christopher: Since I'm reading the "Power of Now", listening and watching my thoughts and how I communicate is taking me into a new realm and out of my comfort zone. It's humbling and very challenging.
Tara: Tell me something people don't know about you. (or eleven things!) :)
Christopher: 1 - Lost 100 pounds...twice! Once in 1991, then gained it back over the next 15 years and lost it again in 2009. Haven't had sugar or carbs since January 2009, the day before my 39th birthday. Needless to say, I won't be sharing a piece of wedding cake.
2 - I have completed three Vision Quests: fasting alone, in the wilderness, with no food, and no shelter for 4 days and nights.
3 - I played African drums for 10 years and made 3 trips Africa for drum study with the masters. The doundoun was my instrument, the base drums. My performance group played much around NYC and once played a gig at a hotel/casino on the strip in Las Vegas.
4 - Met my wife Nel at a wedding! I was a groomsman and she was filming the wedding as a gift to her close friend the bride.
5 - Was an extra on Law & Order with the original cast - Michael Moriarity & Jill Hennesey. This was my one and only professional acting gig. I played the court sketch artist and sat right behind the DAs.
6 - Played the tuba (Sousaphone) in a Christmas concert on the Rockefeller Rink with 500 other tubas. The rehearsal was in an underground garage before the show (the reverb!!!).
7 - Ran 2 marathons - NYC in 1996 and Chicago in 2007. My best time was 5 hours 25 minutes.
8 - Grew up in Fairfield, CT and have lived in NYC over 20 years.
9 - My first Manhattan apartment was a tiny 1-bedroom on 50th Street between 9th & 10th Avenue in a back building. And my rent was $60 per month!
10 - Lived in Japan for 13 months during college. Studied Japanese (and sumo wrestling). Returned to Japan a year later for an internship and worked in an office where no one spoke English. I used to speak Japanese pretty well, but have since lost it.
11 - I was a huge Grateful Dead fan in the late 80's. Went to about 50 shows, wore tie-dyes, collected hundreds of live recordings, the whole bit.