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July 19, 2019

Laura Cobb’s black-and-white photos of Indian Creek, which she took using techniques learned in JCCC Photography classes, showcase her keen eye for the detail and beauty in landscapes.

“We would like to add your work to our collection.” 

Laura Cobb couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Curators at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, wanted to acquire several of the JCCC graduate's photographs.

“It was crazy!” said Laura, who graduated in 2011. “I am really honored to be among the artists collected there.”

Black and white photo of a creek seen through a circular opening in the trees.

Sharp eye leads to big break

The black-and-white photos of Indian Creek in Overland Park were part of a series Laura started shooting in 2016, when she would run along the creekside trail. Her keen photographer’s eye recognized that the woody setting with changing light would be a perfect photo subject.

"I gained so much more than knowledge during my time at JCCC." Laura Cobb, 2011 graduate

Laura took the photos with her 4x5 field camera, a large-format box camera made from wood whose view is upside down and backward when you look through it. Photos shot with this camera can take between a few minutes and 30 minutes to be completed. “You get incredibly sharp negatives using this process,” Laura said.

In 2017, heavy rains turned Indian Creek into a flash flood zone. Both the serenity and seriousness of the high waters were captured in one of the photos the Nelson-Atkins purchased from her series 400 Meters and Infinity Along Indian Creek. Through a gift from the Hall Family Foundation, the museum acquired two photos, and Laura donated a third from the series. She doesn’t know when – or if – they’ll be on display, but simply having her work as part of the museum’s collection is an honor she hopes will lead to more professional opportunities. The Nelson-Atkins also purchased a copy of her 240-page photo guide to the series, which likely will go into the museum's Spencer Art Reference Library.

A large tree with hanging branches grows up out of murky water.

On to a colorful future

Laura prefers taking black-and-white images, especially of landscapes. “Black and white makes it more about the subject matter because you can really focus on the details and composition,” she says. At JCCC, many of her projects involved learning how to develop black-and-white film and scan negatives. “The photo lab at JCCC is really amazing, probably one of the best in the area,” she said.

Since graduating in 2013 from the Kansas City Art Institute, Laura’s work has been displayed in several shows. She traveled extensively in 2015, adding even more photos to her landscape collection. In June of 2019 she completed her third artist residency, at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming, which chose her from hundreds of applicants to work on landscape and portraiture photography.

As she moves toward an exciting future, Laura looks back fondly on her years at JCCC. “I would tell anyone considering going there that it is an amazing place to learn,” she said. “I gained so much more than knowledge during my time at JCCC.”

Want a picture-perfect career?

Take a look at our Photography program, as well as any other of the Fine Arts programs at JCCC. And as a Fine Arts student, you will be immersed in creative surroundings in our new state-of-the-art Fine Arts & Design Studios (FADS). Enroll today!