We recently had the chance to sit down with dancer-turned-photographer Christopher Peddecord. He shared with us why he started dancing, his early photography adventures, one of his favorite shoots (with Discount Dance, of course), and much more!
DDS: What made you choose dance as a profession?
CP: Do you want the real answer? The girls. My friends at school would all go to these swing dance parties and I decided to take swing dance lessons at a local studio. The same studio asked if I would want to take ballet class to which I said yes, and my training grew from there.
DDS: What peaked your interest in photography?
CP: I had a technical curiosity of the camera. I was self-taught. I started with a simple point and shoot that I would bring to class. There was a delay in when you would press the button and when the photo would be taken. I eventually learned how to plan my shots so I would capture a grande jeté at peak action, and that’s when I decided to invest in an SLR and take it more seriously.
DDS: Where was the most interesting location you have ever shot in?
CP: Attic studios in NYC for DDS was an awesome experience. It was a full studio production and I had been doing a lot of test shots as preparation for the shoot; I practiced a lot of different lighting styles, and it was very gratifying for everything to come out as planned on set.
DDS: How do you direct the dancers during your shoot?
CP: I use both set choreography and improvisational techniques. A lot of times there will be a look, position, or feeling that I want, but I won’t tell the dancer directly. I give the dancer guidelines and limitations to achieve what I’m looking for. I also tend to speak differently to dancers based on their dance style, be it contemporary, ballet, or modern. Ultimately I need to make sure that we are communicating not only so I get the shot I need, but so that the dancer does not get hurt and is not wasting their time or energy. We’re only given so many steps as a dancer before our time runs out, I want to make sure those steps are not wasted in front of my camera.
Click here to view more of Christopher’s beautiful dance photography!