Hattiesburg native launches career as a freelance photographer – OXFORD STORIES

University of Mississippi alumnus Ariel Cobbert during a photoshoot. picture sent,

Morgan Westemeier
Oxford Stories
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It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Ariel Cobbert, a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, took that simple phrase and created an interesting career.

“I was more interested in photography than journalism,” Cobbert said. Expressing a story through a photo has guided his career.

Cobbert grew up in Hattiesburg and was the oldest of three boys and four girls. It made her an extrovert.

“It definitely shaped my childhood and probably created some of the best memories,” she said.

His interest in photographic journalism and enjoyment of social situations prompted Cobbert to join his high school newspaper and later The Daily Mississippian at UM his freshman year. Through her high school newspaper, she entered a journalism contest at the UM School of Journalism and New Media and won several photo contests and a full ride to UM.

Cobbert studied print journalism and a minor in African American studies. She worked for The Daily Mississippian and participated in numerous journalism school programs throughout her college career.

“They offered me a full ride,” she said. “That’s pretty much why I went there.”

She made many lifelong friends and connections at Ole Miss.

“She’s a great photographer,” says Brittany Brown, another UM School of Journalism and New Media graduate and close friend of Cobbert’s. Brown said one of her favorite college memories was a study-abroad trip she took with Cobbert to Puerto Rico in January 2019 to report on the long-term effects of Hurricane Maria. Cobbert was his mentor.

Photographer Ariel Cobbert working in freelance photography.  Oblique rays of light fall on his subject.  Photo submitted
Photographer Ariel Cobbert working in freelance photography. Photo submitted

“It was really kind of a unique and refreshing experience to be on this study abroad trip and to be mentored by a friend,” Brown said.

While at UM, they worked together on many projects across and outside of school.

“We actually ended up doing this one-day creative project,” Brown said, recalling a summer when she and Cobbert decided to do a photo shoot together at Sardis Lake. “It was really off the cuff and random, but I felt like I wanted to try something new and do some creative photography.

“I really stepped out of my box, but really felt like she was in her own wheelhouse. . . “, Brown said. “She created a vision from start to finish. She has a very keen eye for making the images look good.

Throughout Cobbert’s academic career at UM, she participated in study abroad trips to places like Africa and Sri Lanka. She also went on weekend reporting trips with now-retired Bill Rose, one of her favorite teachers.

The summer after graduating from UM in 2018, Cobbert interned at the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia. After that, she moved to Memphis to intern with The Commercial Appeal.

In January 2019, at the end of her previous internship, she started working for Vision Roots, a film company that has since changed its name. After freelancing, she then worked at the newspaper for two years until she felt exhausted.

“I never wanted to be one of those people who hate going to work,” she said. “I never want to be exhausted from photography.”

Ariel Cobbert works as a photographer after attending the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media.  She is pictured holding a large camera and wearing a mask.  Photo submitted
Ariel Cobbert works as a photographer after attending the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. Photo submitted

Cobbert wanted to make sure she didn’t tire of doing what she loved. Since December last year, she has been a full-time freelance photographer.

“I want to keep creating for different outlets and don’t let anything hold me back,” she said. “That’s pretty much the main focus.”

Cobbert has also filmed for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, assisted with a Gap campaign shoot, and photographed Donald Trump and Joe Biden on assignment.

“It was really cool to work for a bunch of different publications,” Cobbert said. “I want to take advantage of it. I’m glad I took the risk, and I also want to book lots of customers and make some money.

Cobbert said she wants to take every opportunity, get paid the right amount, and have fun.


Tagged as: Ariel Cobbert, top journalism programs, top photography programs, featured, Memphis, Mississippi, ole miss, Oxford, photography, School of Journalism and New Media, The Commercial Appeal, University of Mississippi

Stewart C. Hartline