Wednesday, February 8, 2012

National Geographic Photographer Jodi Cobb Speaks About Getting Inside The Story

Tonight I took advantage of living near Washington, D.C., home of National Geographic.  I attended the opening talk of the Nat Geo Live Masters of Photography Series, given by Jodi Cobb.
Jodi has worked as a Nat Geo photographer for three decades.  She has always enjoyed getting inside, backstage, behind the scenes.  Her professional photographic work started in a commune in the Ozark Mountains, and led her to the rock and roll scene, where she photographed the iconic performers of the day, including Jethro Tull, Bruce Springsteen, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and many others.  Many of her images show the human side of these characters, for example:
(Click Here) to go to Jodi's site and see Springsteen putting on his socks, the same way you and I do.
As her career advanced, Jodi continued to get into settings that most people could never gain entry to, and to work behind the scenes.  Her work has taken her around the world, to photograph such elusive subjects as the lives of Saudi Arabian women, Japanese geisha, European supermodels.  I purchased her lovely book on the Geisha at the event.
The project that she says most affected her is on human trafficking in the modern world.  
(Click Here) to see her web gallery from the Slavery Project.  
In this project, she covered child labor in Indian rug making, prostitution in India, Thailand, Israel, and Los Angeles, and many other facets of this ugly truth of modern life.  She said it was the hardest project to live through, but also the most meaningful.  She said it changed her life, and her attitude regarding prostitution (often called a victimless crime), and buying very inexpensive goods, which promotes slavery.
Her latest project was for a National Geographic story on twins, in the latest issue.  This image is from that story:
Image Source:
by Jodi Cobb

Jodi is now working on a retrospective about her life as a photographer.

I thoroughly enjoyed her presentation, and will think of it often as I try to go a little deeper with my photographic subjects.  She is clearly a master at getting to the inside story.

I recommend you visit her website; there's a lot to learn from her examples.

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