Following on from our Orson Kartt interview, the next exciting introduction ArtAttack made at The Other Art Fair was with professional dance photographer, Cody Choi. We were blown away by his unique approach to this genre of imagery.
Not only does Cody focus on dance portraiture and theatre photography, he is currently the Creative Director of ‘Cody’s Moving Group’ where he takes the lead in movement exploration and choreography for all their productions.
ArtAttack is pleased to share with you an inspiring interview with the artist expanding our view into the collaborative worlds of dance and art.
Art Attack: How did you become involved in creating art and how did the journey with dance photography [specifically] start?
Cody Choi: I wanted to be a pop star or a footballer when I was young. I started my dance photography journey when I danced for 3 years on the world tour of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. (Loving every minute of it!) There were many places [on the tour] I knew I would just go once in my life, so I bought a Nikon D50 to capture different places and started to take dance photos with my colleagues. Years later, I started to do exhibitions and art fairs.
AA: So you dance yourself then…
CC: Yes, I started dancing when I was 17. For four years I studied contemporary dance at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts where I twice received Jackie Chan‘s scholarship before I got a scholarship to join Transitions dance company at Trinity Laban, London. I have worked as a professional dancer ever since. I danced in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake , 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves , Walking on Sunshine with Leona Lewis; I’ve danced for Sony , the BBC, Arthur Pita, De Vlaamse Opera, English National Opera, the National Theatre, Theatre-Rites, Future Cinema, the American Dance Festival, Andy Lau‘s Unforgettable Concert, the Royal Opera House etc.
AA: How would you describe your artistic practice and what is your artistic process? Do you travel with groups of dancers, go to dance schools, shows etc.
CC: I choreograph for my dance group – ‘Cody’s Moving Group’. I also choreograph for Trinity Laban, Kingston University, the BBC, the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Sony, Adidas, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Tsoying High School in Taiwan, Cirque Du Soleil etc. Choreography and modelling work have brought me to different places where I have spent time taking dance photography with dancers.
For example, I shot Dancer: Gama on the 3rd day of a choreography job at Tsoying High School in Taiwan. I shot various self portraits while on tour with Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, the English National Opera, and while modelling in Latvia. I shot Shaolin Monk when dancing with Andy Lau, a famous pop star in Hong Kong, when filming had just finished on the new Shaolin Temple movie with Jackie Chan. I shot Dancer: Karolina when ‘Cody’s Moving Group’ was performing at The Palace in London.
AA: As a photographer myself, I have noticed you have a running theme of focused and crisp images. Dance represents movement and flow, what is your process when deciding your images should be sharp instead of using a slow shutter speed and emphasizing the movement?
CC: I think that’s really just my personality. My choreography and the way I dance is more or less the same style (you can look on my website and you will understand what I mean.) I love simple, I love direct, I love energy, I love moving, I love speed, I love passion.
AA: Have you got any future projects/plans lined up?
CC: I have just finished filming Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch, but I can’t share much about it at the moment. I am going to exhibit my work at Taipei 101 – the world’s largest and highest-use green building, as well as the Urban Art Fair, Spitalfields Arts Market and The Other Art Fair. I will also be choreographing for Taipei National Arts University.
For more on Cody Choi, check out his website.