Juan Cristóbal Cobo
Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
I was born in Cali, Colombia, and moved to New York as a teenager. My earliest passions were centered on filmmaking, but after 30 years as a cinematographer and commercial director, I found myself being strongly drawn to the art of still photography.
I have been trying to tell stories for most of my life. Filmmaking was the medium that allowed me to do that, first as a cinematographer behind the camera in many films and documentaries, and then as a director in the world of advertising, where stories needed to be told and understood in concise blocks of time. The compromise with advertising is that you lose touch with telling your own stories. So four years ago I made a blind leap into the unknown, from moving images and into still photography.
I went from collaborative filmmaking to a solitary art form that purely reflected my own personal interpretation of the world, people and events around me. It’s a much lonelier process, where I follow only my intuition without outside guidance. I know how to tell stories in film, but I find the photographic medium much more complex, where a single image can have the power to inform you, move you and perhaps, in the best of cases, remain like an imprint in your mind.
I never went to a photo or journalism school. I am teaching myself how to do it. Of course, I bring my knowledge of many years to the still image, my understanding of light and composition, for example, and the passion for the story. I have a deep curiosity about the people around me, I’m curious also about myself — my own emotions — and I try to connect those with my pictures.
My work has been featured on National Geographic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Science Magazine, @newyorkerphoto, L’œil de la Photographie, The Ground Truth Project, among others.
- Video capture