Captured Live: 50 Years of Bay Dance Photography highlights dance images from key photographic collections from the Elyse Eng Dance Collection at the Museum of Performance + Design. Collections chosen include Katherine Kahrs, Chester Kessler, Henrietta McDowell, and Bob McLeod's photographic collections. Additional information about these collections is available on their respective collections pages, accessible through the "Browse Collections" link on the left and through individual links below.
Chester Kessler was a student of Minor White’s photography program at the California School of Fine Arts. During the late 1950s and the early 1960s, he photographed and documented performances of postmodern dancer Anna Halprin and San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop. His collection at MP+D contains approximately 1,500 photographs, negatives and transparencies of important dancers and dance companies in works choreographed by notables such as George Balanchine, Ruth Beckford, Carlos Carvajal, Lew Christensen, Anna Halprin, and Welland Lathrop.
Henrietta (Henri) Deming McDowell was the official photographer for the San Francisco Ballet, documenting nearly every ballet performed in that period of time. Promotional materials and souvenir programs often featured her photographs. Her photography and articles about ballet and Lew Christensen appeared in numerous publications. The collection at MP+D includes negatives, mini positives, slides, loose and bound black and white and color prints of varying sizes, and personal papers consisting of news clippings, manuscripts, publications, correspondence, and awards. Noted dancers and choreographers featured in the collection include individuals such as Lew Christensen, Michael Smuin, Carlos Carvajal, Robert Gladstein, Sally Bailey, and Jocelyn Vollmar.
Robert J. (Bob) McLeod was a San Francisco-based photographer. He worked for years at the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. McLeod was married to photographer Beth Witrogen, whose photographic work is also included in this collection. The collection at MP+D includes photographic prints, negatives, slides, programs, and press clippings from the Examiner and Chronicle featuring his work. Notable dancers and choreographers reflected in his collection include Mikhail Baryshnikov, Lew Christensen, Joanna Berman, Evelyn Cisneros, Christopher Stowell as well as dancers from prominent companies such as San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
All images on this site are low-resolution JPEG files meant for reference use only.
Cataloging, digitization, and access of these collections is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts/Art Works and Grants For the Arts.