Our unique 7x7 Events are a way of engaging with other creative communities. This latest rendition was something special. 

I sat down with 7x7 Founder, Alex Berger to find out more...

1. Remind us, what is a 7x7 Event? We bring our seven photographers and seven subjects together into a unique, often historic location. Names are pulled from hats to pair them off and improvised photoshoots ensue. Each event has a theme. This time, we decided to partner with seven of Nashville’s top contemporary dancers. 

2. Where did the idea to create a dance 7x7 Event come from? Last year on a trip to New York City, I ran into an old friend who happens to be a Broadway choreographer. On a whim, I asked if I could photograph a rehearsal. It was my first time photographing dancers in action. I found it completely thrilling. It was also challenging, not least due to not knowing what they were going to do or where they were going to move next. By the end of the rehearsal I already knew at some point we had to do a dance-themed 7x7 Event. 

3. How did you connect with these dancers? I recently worked on a music video which happened to be choreographed by the brilliant Joy Spears. I mentioned the idea of doing a dance-theme 7x7 event and she loved the idea. Joy then connected us with almost all the dancers you’ll see this week. The only other dancer I knew was Madolyn Garrett, recommended to me by my friend and 7x7 Event alumnus, Meaux. 

4.Tell us about the location. The location is the beautiful and relatively new Wilburn Street Studio. The studio is run by Nashville’s premier creative talent agency, AMAX. We have previously partnered with AMAX and are grateful as ever for their support of photographic creativity.

5. Are there any specific challenges photographing dancers vs subjects in previous events? Yes. The first part of the event we did something we’ve never done before. All the photographers and dancers sat and watched one dancer at a time perform to a song of their choice. Only the paired photographer was allowed to capture that dance. I wanted to emulate for the other photographers the experience I’d had back in New York the previous year. And as then, the physical and technical challenge was exhilarating. You don’t know what’s going to happen next and find yourself becoming a dance partner of sorts.

6. You included an additional challenge this time around. Tell us about that. We were absolutely delighted to partner with the amazing lighting company, Paul C Buff. They not only provided multiple flash setups throughout the studio for us to play with, but also brought along a lighting ambassador to give us a crash course in these particular lights before the event began. After the dance performance part of the event, each pairing had a twenty minute window where they were assisted by the lighting ambassador, Jeff Carpenter (Readylight Media), and had to produce images using the Paul C Buff lights. Some of 7x7’s photographers primarily shoot with natural light, so this was a welcome, fun and educational addition to the event

7. What was learned through this rendition of 7x7? I am generally a fan of pairing the photographers and subjects up and letting them just go off and create. However, I think we all enjoyed the slightly more structured format of this event (i.e. the dance performance, lighting challenge then free shoot). Also, we definitely already want to do another dance event! 

Video by Logen Christopher/Stormlight Pictures

We’d be remiss not to mention our generous partners for this event. A huge thanks to Paul C Buff and Wilburn Street Studio. Special thanks to Joy Spears for helping connect us with so many enthusiastic, talented and beautiful dancers. The event couldn’t have been executed without our supporting team: Videographer Logen Christopher of Stormlight Pictures, behind the scenes photographer, Emma Summers and website/moral support from Cece Dawson.


See photos from this Visual Podcast every day this week on our Instagram account.