Jodi Cobb on Cultural Exploration

“It’s been a scholarship to the world.  A lifelong scholarship to the world.” —Jodi Cobb

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A colorfully clad youngster in Saudi Arabia will don the traditional veil at puberty.

By the time Jodi Cobb was 12 years old, she had been around the world twice. Her travels as a child sparked a curiosity in her for adventure, ultimately leading to her career as a National Geographic photographer. Driven by her family mantra “what can I do that I never have done before,” Cobb’s photographs tend to take the world behind closed doors, and into secret and forgotten lives of communities from across the globe.  When her story on human trafficking ran in the magazine in 2003, it received the biggest readership response in the history of National Geographic at that time. The photos triggered a public outcry, resulting in increased donations to organizations dealing with human trafficking and even the FBI asking to be trained in trafficking issues. She has received many honors and awards for her decades of work, including becoming the first woman in history to be named White House Photographer of the Year. —Kathryn Carlson

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

 View more of Jodi Cobb’s work on her website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Jodi Cobb
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Kathryn Carlson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM