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Life Through the Lens


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  • Volunteer Profile: Brian Duggan
    Life Through the Lens

Shannon Markle | October 27, 2017

Volunteer Profile: Brian Duggan

You have likely seen Brian Duggan about town. Like many of us indulging in the beautifully and suddenly flourishing cultural life of Cambridge, Brian loves to be where something exciting is happening. He’s the guy leaning over the balcony camera in hand, then slipping gingerly through a crowded audience, crouching in front of the stage, and waiting. You’ll see Brian standing on a chair at the back of the room, or searching out a spot with a great sightline, getting the angle just right, then waiting. Waiting for a split second of vulnerability, the flash of brilliance or a deliciously nuanced facial expression, to SNAP!

Brian came to photography relatively late in life, and confessed that photos taken in ‘the family years’ were generally an exercise in point and shoot. Then a travel rich phase of life began for the Duggans. For Brian, the lush vistas of Canada and exotic ones of China, Egypt, Ireland (and beyond) awoke a deep need to preserve the fleeting moments of awe travel gives. Duggan purchased a Sony camera with a telephoto option and began the long process of understanding composition, experimenting with style and mastering his art. Then he “tried, and tried and tried…”, accepting the trial and error process. When he confessed to another photographer that he felt too intimidated to share his work with a local photography group, he was told “Remember, you only see the good shots, there are hundreds more trying to get it right” advice Brian now shares with other photographers.

As tends to happen when travel seeds a photography obsession, landscapes are Brian’s favorite subject, and thankfully our region, in particular our city, offers an alluring blend of riverfront and historic structures for inspiration. However, in his volunteer work as a Special Events Photographer for Idea Exchange, Cambridge Live Music and SNAP’d Brian has discovered a new avenue for expression: music event photography. “Combining interesting opportunities with the camera gives me an opportunity to go and do what I can.” Brian shared “Taking photos of the musicians while they, searching for the detail in the surroundings, the interplay between the crowd and the performers; playing with the perspective in the shot, trying to capture it all…most of all, having fun!”

As a life-long volunteer, and husband of Idea Exchange Cultural Programs and Special Events Associate, Margaret, when we started our Special Events Photography team Brian was one of the first to sign on. Now his event photos are a featured part of our Facebook page, and help us share what we do with our community.

The next time you are attending an exciting Cambridge event look around the room. Chances are you will find Brian Duggan, camera in hand, on the peripheral while somehow being right in the middle of the action.