Would you mind introducing yourself? Hello! My name is Cody Cobb and I was born and raised in a small town in northern Louisiana. I've been living in Seattle and exploring the Pacific Northwest for the last 13 years. I split my time and creative energy between working as a motion designer and as a photographer.
Cody's Instagram - @codycobb
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? When I was living in Louisiana, my best friend Alex Gaidouk and I started shooting at the same time. We were mostly exploring industrial wastelands and abandoned factories and documenting the things we were coming across while trying not to get caught. We really pushed each other early on and he's still the only person whose opinion I completely trust and the first person I share new work with. Those memories of aimlessly driving around trying (and occasionally succeeding) to capture the bleakness of our surroundings are really important to my relationship with photography.
How would you describe your style of photography? Portraits of the Earth's surface.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? While it was ultimately a failure in the photographic sense, the experience of the last total eclipse in 2017 is something that I'll never forget. I was too awestruck during the event itself to remember how to use my cumbersome view camera, resulting in a single salvageable exposure and a few ruined sheets of 4x5 film.
What inspires your photography? A childhood spent indoors, deeply immersed in science fiction and video games has inspired me to explore and seek out strange new worlds as an adult. I'm very much inspired by the immensity of nature itself and the ability for a place to invoke such powerful emotions. The photographs that inspire me are actually portraits. I want to be able to capture that same expression of soulfulness in landscapes that I see in portraiture.
Camera & Editing process? I shoot with a few different cameras, usually pairing a film camera and a digital camera. I alternate between loving both formats and cursing them. Figuring out what light to give to film and when to embrace digital has been the biggest challenge. I'm finding that I typically shoot more throughout the day with a digital camera (such as a Fujifilm GFX 50s) while giving the evening light to a medium format or large format film camera. If I'm exploring an urban area, I really like to bring along a single point and shoot 35mm film camera. My editing process is fairly simple, since I prefer to not spend more time on a computer. Both my film and digital shots end up getting processed almost entirely in Lightroom with some basic curve editing. I can really squeeze quite a bit of tonality out of an image with that single, powerful tool.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? I like to think that my style is informed by the way I get to experience the places I shoot. Being alone in these very large places really forces me to pay attention and be sensitive to the nuances in light and geometry. I also listen to my own emotional response to being isolated in these places. Some of my favourite photos have been made when I'm feeling vulnerable, ecstatic or lonely. I also question everything I do, constantly trying to figure out how to do better. It drives me insane, but keeps me from getting too comfortable in how I both think about and practice photography.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? I've been lucky enough to encounter some immensely talented people, mostly through the internet. Flickr was the first platform that connected me to people I still call friends and follow religiously, like Reuben Wu (@itsreuben) and Sean Marc Lee (@seanmarclee). Instagram has reconnected me to some old friends like Coley Brown (@coleybrown123) and new ones like Vikesh Kapoor (@vikeshkapoor). I've even managed to connect to some of my all-time favourites like Bryan Schutmaat (@bryanschutmaat) and Greg Girard (@gregforaday). As easy as it is for me to be cynical about social media, it has done a good job of putting me in direct contact with some really amazing people. My favourite account on Instagram is the mysterious @jitjindar.
The coolest place you've ever been? Taiwan made an enormous impression on me. Both the cities and outdoors were so much fun to explore, I often find myself daydreaming about the time I've spent there.
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? Mars would be fun, even just getting to operate a drone remotely. On this planet, I've always wanted to go to the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica but it seems like such an expensive and difficult destination.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? I tend to move around with the seasons, so I typically spent my winters in the desert or somewhere tropical and summers up in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions that you would like to share? I'm currently up in Squamish, British Columbia. I try not to plan too far ahead, though I am starting to dream about cold nights in the deserts of the American Southwest.
Anything extra you would like to share? I recently became represented by a gallery here in Seattle, Foster/White (@fosterwhitegallery). I'm excited to move into the fine art world and would love to continue to exhibit and sell more of my work as well as taking on commissions. Seeing my photos printed at the large scale I always intended it to be viewed at was such an awesome moment, it's the closest I've felt to being in these places since I was actually there.
Also, remember to leave no trace!