Global Speakers Series: National Geographic Photographer Jodi Cobb Awes Students

Jodi Cobb, one of the first female photographers at National Geographic and the first woman to be named the White House Photographer of the Year, shared her incredible work with Newark Academy students as part of the Global Speaker Series, on November 23, 2021.
Cobb was the first photographer to document the hidden lives of the women of Saudi Arabia and is widely known for her Pulitzer-nominated book, “Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art,” which documents the lives and rituals of Japan’s geishas. 
“I became a photographer because I wanted to change the world,” Cobb said. “Maybe I didn’t change the world, but the world changed me.”
Cobb discussed her experience in capturing the cultures and gender roles in over 60 countries with rare photographer access, behind-the-scenes moments in the entertainment industry, and the beauty of human movement and lights through a photo series of recreational swimmers. Cobb dived into the lengthy process of breaking through the geisha cultural barrier in Japan and earning their trust and respect in order to capture the world through their lens. She also shared eye-opening photos of women in Saudi Arabia and wowed students with her photos of music icons such as Alice Cooper and Bruce Springsteen. Following her talk, students had the opportunity to meet with Cobb and ask additional questions in breakout sessions.
“Jodi Cobb is a world-renowned photographer and documentarian,” said Director of Theater Arts Rachel Shapiro Cooper. “Shattering gender boundaries at National Geographic, she was a shining example of fortitude, passion and bravery. Her work speaks for itself, and the way she spoke was humble, thoughtful and full of grace. We were so happy to have her join us at Newark Academy.”

Since 2008, NA’s Global Speaker Series Committee has brought distinguished individuals from around the world to address the NA community, enriching students’ understanding and broadening their intellectual horizons. The series is made possible through contributions to the Annual Fund.
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