Jodi Cobb has traveled around the globe exposing worldly issues and cultural beauty through her camera lens.
Cobb spoke at the Frost Foundation Lectureship at TCU on Monday to discuss her global travels to over 60 countries.
“Photography is the passport to other worlds,” Cobb said. “I became a photographer because I wanted to change the world.”
Moving to Iran with her family in third grade, Cobb had the opportunity to travel to many countries. By age 12, Cobb had been around the world twice.
Cobb received her Master of Arts degree and Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She also received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
Cobb said she pursued a degree in journalism because she believed it was a perfect degree for traveling.
“I took a photography course and fell in love with it,” Cobb said. “That is what inspired me to get my master’s degree.”
Cobb joined National Geographic as a photographer in the 1970s after previously getting denied an internship.
“I kept my rejection letter from National Geographic because I believed it would give me inspiration later in life,” Cobb said.
As a National Geographic photographer, Cobb traveled the globe to capture different cultural lifestyles.
“I was a stranger in a strange land,” Cobb said. “It was scary at times.”
Cobb said she wanted to show the way people lived in different cultures that outsiders don’t get to see. She covered stories ranging from human trafficking to women’s issues.
“Women were facing extreme discrimination,” Cobb said. “In some countries, I was only able to photograph them if their husband gave permission.”
Cobb was also the only woman photographer at National Geographic at the time.
“In a sense, I was wondering around the world in search of my own photographic identity,” Cobb said.
“Human trafficking was the hardest story I have ever had to cover. It is a world-wide issue.”
Today, Cobb is using her photographs to lecture on the world’s cultural issues around the globe as well as the lessons she learned.
“Maybe I didn’t change the world,” Cobb said, “but the world changed me.”