During the Renaissance, the masterpiece “The Tempest” by Venetian painter Giorgione marked a serious shift in visual subject. It is arguably the first landscape painting in the Western world. In this new style of portraiture, Giorgione featured the land as a focal point and the subject inspiring an entire new genre of landscape focus in painting and later in photography.
Continuously, the photography of Cody Cobb emanates this innate love of the landscape with blistering and beautiful shots of places one could only imagine seeing in a lifetime. Beyond scenic and postcard-pictures, Cody’s work encapsulates sprawling and mysterious corners of the world within the realm of a single photograph. The effect is awe-inspiring. Without further ado, I give you Cody Cobb.
Where were you born and where did you just fly in from?
I was born in Shreveport, LA. I grew up in a small town just north of that called Blanchard. I’ve just spent the last few weeks exploring the North Cascades of Washington state.
This may sound like a dramatic question but can you describe the first moment you realized that you loved photography?
I didn’t love photography until I met Alex Gaidouk. We started exploring abandoned geodesic domes and driving around New Orleans all night looking for things to shoot. We really pushed each other from the beginning and he continues to be my biggest motivation and inspiration, even as our subjects and interests start to diverge.
I notice most of your photographs are entirely landscapes that have zero people in them, why’s that? Describe your relationship to the subjects of your photographs.
I tend to go on solo, multi-day backpacking trips in relatively remote areas during the week. Sometimes I’ll go days without seeing another human and it’s an amazing experience. Being in such big places by yourself can totally shift your sense of scale in the universe. I feel like it puts me in a heightened state of awareness with my surroundings. I’m just an observer of my subjects.
How do you travel and can you describe your most vivid travel memory?
My most recent vivid travel memory is of camping on the pumice fields on the north side of Mount Adams. I got caught in a pretty violent windstorm and was exposed to 60mph blasts of lava dust all night. I was pretty certain my tent was going to disintegrate. I also camped out in an abandoned mine in the Horseshoe Basin a few weeks ago, but that was a really pleasant experience.
I try to travel as light as possible. I’ve finally found the best combination of photo gear to bring along. I shoot with a Voigtlander Bessa III, which is a really compact 6×7 camera. I also have a Yashica T4 in my pocket at all times. It has an amazing lens and it’s weatherproof, which is important when trekking around the Pacific Northwest.I also have a 1995 Subaru Legacy station wagon to get me out to the wilderness. I can sleep comfortably in the back when necessary.
How does traveling and a nomadic lifestyle inform your work as a photographer and your life (as a human)?
I’m happiest when I’m experiencing new landscapes, climbing on different rock types and meeting new people. There’s so much to see on this rapidly changing planet.
And finally, where to next/ what are you working on (project wise)?
I’m driving down to California tonight. I’ll be spending time in the Redwoods, Yosemite, Buttermilks and Death Valley before heading east to southern Utah.