One to Watch

Cody Choi’s photographs capture dynamic movement

Cody Choi aims to capture dynamism, of emotions and their relationship to the movement of the body, in his dance photographs. Cody himself is a dancer — he toured the world to dance with Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and first photographed different theatres and dancers while on tour. Informed by this background in the performing arts, he uses dancers as models and choreographs routines, creating visual dialogue to elicit emotional responses in his viewers.

Cody studied Modern Dance at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and received a full scholarship to join the Transitions Dance Company at Laban in London. He is a winning photographer for The Place (London) and has exhibited his works in the UK, Singapore, and Taiwan. His works have been shown at The Other Art Fair (London and Bristol), Affordable Art Fair (Battersea and Bristol), Imitate Modern, and Taipei 101, as well as in solo shows at ULI, London and The Camera Club, London, one of the oldest camera clubs in the world.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

My work is a marriage of two art forms, dance and photography. The combination of both have allowed me to communicate dynamic emotions through body movements.

I came from a performing artist background, therefore I hope my photography is not just an expression that I indulge in. I like to create an interaction with the audience to make them feel, think. While I want to keep myself creative, I would also like to inspire others through my work.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  

“Be patient, trust yourself, enjoy.” (By our dance photography art director and my real life partner- Ada Ooi)

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

When I am choreographing, I listen to several songs over and over again, it helps me get into the mood, to think and create.

Same applies to my photography sessions, I work with dancers! So music is inevitable during our shoots. I do feel that there is a certain level of subtlety in music that always helps me communicate with the dancers, although we might be trained in different countries, and fluent in different styles, worked with different choreographers etc., the right music seems to make us ‘speak the same language’!

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

My self-portrait photography that I took when I was touring for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. It is a record of myself dancing in one of the best dance companies and touring around the world for three years- one important highlight of my life!

I feel, as a dancer and a photographer, photography plays a very important role to archive the dancers’ physique, their movements, their styles and emotional expressions. These are the things that can change or evolve as time goes by– in a matter of years, months or even by weeks– just when a dancer has moved from one project to another.

Who are your favorite writers?

I must say I am not very good with words, I grew up with very visual books i.e. comics. My favorite comics are by:

Takehiko Inoue- Slam Dunk (about basketball)

Yoichi Takahashi- Captain Tsubasa (about football)

Wong Yuk-long- Oriental Heroes (about brotherhood and the fight for justice)

The only books that I can recall (and I say are my favorites) are Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, intense stories about Zombie and Love. Another one is one of the four Chinese Classics: The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guan Zhong. All about ancient kings, dynasties, war tactics and so on.

About the Author

Jessica McQueen is Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at