Cody Cobb

Cody Cobb's cinematic landscape photography captures the isolated wonder of the wilderness...

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What first sparked your interest in photography, and what is it about the form that inspires you?
My earliest experiments with photography were used as elements in digital illustrations and collages. I spent a lot of time exploring abandoned buildings and was really drawn to rust and mildew as textures. The more time I spent with a camera, the more I allowed my photos to be their own thing. I think the process of shooting inspires me more than the medium itself. I love experiencing the slightly altered state of consciousness that occurs when observing nature on such a basic level of shape, colour and light.
Describe your work in three words...
Austere, Desolate, Primordial.

What are your tools of the trade?
I have a few different pairings of cameras that I bring with me depending on the conditions. For longer multi-day or multi-week hikes I'll bring a digital Ricoh GR and Yashica T4 or Voigtlander Bessa III. On my most recent trip (primarily a road-trip with day hikes) I brought along a Mamiya 7ii and a Sony A7rII with a Sony 55mm and Zeiss 25mm. Some of my favorite photos were shot on film, but I don't consider myself an analog zealot. I reserve film for the best light while digital lets me experiment a bit more freely.

I've been a big fan of Kodak's Portra film, but I recently started experimenting with Fuji's Pro400H. I have my film developed at a lab in Seattle and scan at home using a Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED. It's a time- consuming process, but I end up with 4000dpi RAW files that I can bring into Photoshop to invert using ColorNeg. Finally, I take that into Lightroom for a few adjustments to tonal curves. My next step will hopefully be figuring out how to make giant prints!

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Describe a favourite project to us...
I don't necessarily set out with a clearly defined project in mind, so I try and bounce around to different environments over the course of the year. Once I've collected enough photos from a region, a series develops around that. A recent trip that stands out was a month-long exploration of Taiwan. It was refreshing to be surrounded by completely new shapes and sounds and even a different quality of light because of the particulate in the air. I was able to journey outside of the big cities and see the mountains and forests that make Taiwan such a special place. The food was also some of the best I've ever had. It's a place that left such a big impression that I'm considering moving there next year.

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What's the most extreme situation you've found yourself in whilst shooting?
My difficult experiences would hardly qualify as extreme, mostly just uncomfortable. I've gotten pretty good at being cold, dirty and tired for weeks at a time. Because I'm usually alone, I'm not willing to put myself in any unnecessary danger. I feel like the most stressful moments I've encountered have involved driving. I have very dark memories of plowing through intense blizzards, carefully negotiating foggy mountain roads blocked by rockslides and getting completely stuck in deep sand.

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You're a motion designer as well as a photographer. Do the two sides to your creative practice ever influence each other or converge?
Motion design helps keep my design sensibilities intact, which influences the graphic arrangements in my landscapes. My design jobs are also very collaborative and that helps keeps my people skills intact. Photography gets me away from a computer and is incredibly therapeutic. I don't think I would want to fully commit to a single practice, since I get so much out of both.

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Who are your heroes?
I don't have any, now that I think about it. Thankfully, I've been lucky enough to find myself surrounded by a few amazing scientists, artists, architects, athletes, filmmakers and musicians who are all a powerfully positive force in the world.