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Short profile

Cody Cobb was born in 1984 in Shreveport, Louisiana and now lives in Las Vegas. He was titled one of the top 30 emerging photographers by PDN Magazine in 2018, and several of his photographs have won the International Photography Exhibition Award from the Royal Photographic Society in London, United Kingdom. He has since exhibited his work in the U.S. and internationally, and his Instagram account @codycobb is followed by well over 55,000 people. His photographs also appear in publications such as The California Sunday Magazine, WIRED Magazine, and MADE Quarterly. In this interview, he talks more about how he got into photography and shares his experience of solitude in the wilderness.

Self-portrait of Cody Cobb standing on a rock formation.


Can you tell us a little bit about how you became a photographer?

Photography has always been a big part of my creative process, even before I fully dedicated myself to becoming a photographer. In my teenage years, I was heavily into computer graphics and photography became a way for me to capture textures from the real world to integrate into my digitally synthesized works. Over time, I realized that I enjoyed the process of being outside with a camera more than I enjoyed being inside on a computer. With this realization began a long journey of transitioning into doing photography full-time. The more time I've dedicated to my practice, the deeper I find myself immersed in the wilderness of the American West. My goal has become to find a way to capture those experiences in a way that does them justice, which is a challenge I'm still trying to figure out.

Red sandstone formations with fluorescent blue grass elements.

Photo: Cody Cobb

Please share something about your images. What is your special interest?

My latest series, Spectral, is an exploration of an unseen world that exists only for a brief moment when certain materials are exposed to ultraviolet light. Certain minerals and organisms will fluoresce in vivid colors when exposed to that spectrum of light which is invisible to humans. I'm fascinated by this phenomenon which is so fleeting as my light passes over these strange surfaces. I think my interest lies in those transient moments in the wilderness as light and geometry are in alignment. I feel like solitude in these enormous places helps me to become more sensitive to those brief moments, some only existing for a few seconds before fading away.

Colorful stone formation with dark blue night sky in the background.

Photo: Cody Cobb

How do you choose the colors, composition, themes etc.?   

I allow for serendipity and curiosity to lead me to the places I photograph. None of my photos are planned, I just happen to put myself in the right place at the right time.

My time spent as a designer seems to have shaped the way I perceive certain relationships of shape, composition, and color. It feels as if my brain has been wired to recognize certain harmonies when they appear.

Red sandstone formations with fluorescent blue water.

Photo: Cody Cobb

Where does this interest come from?    

I've always found solitude to be incredibly therapeutic, I think spending so much time alone in the middle of nowhere has allowed me to observe the way I process my surroundings. I'm so fascinated by the way our brains assemble the world around us based on limited sensory information.

Blue fluorescent landscapes, on left picture with trees and red foliage, on right picture with stone, trees and night skye.

Photo: Cody Cobb

How do you get inspired? And what inspires you the most? Films, books, or magazines? Or what surrounds you?    

As cliché as it sounds, the Earth itself is my biggest source of inspiration. I'm in constant awe of the power of geologic forces and erosion over enormous timescales.

What are your plans for the rest of the day? 

I'll be heading out into the Mojave Desert today to enjoy the sun and climb up some rocks.

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