National Geographic - 100 Best Pictures
In Focus
Jodi Cobb Almost Dodges Tender Moment
Photo: Steve Yeager plants a kiss on top of Monty Basgall's  head

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Photo: Jodi Cobb Download a player

In the days before auto-focus and motor drive, one relied on the
ability to anticipate special moments, rather than the rapid-fire of high-tech cameras, acknowledges photographer Jodi Cobb.

Just moments before the infamous dug-out smooch, Steve Yeager was blowing big pink bubbles as he and coach Monty Basgall were going over the line-up for the game. But when Yeager suddenly removed Basgall’s cap and planted a kiss on top of his head, Cobb almost missed the opportunity.

“I snapped the picture [and] realized that it was frame 36. There are only 36 pictures on a roll of film. I was then consumed with nerves …about whether I had actually gotten that moment or not,” says Cobb.

There was also barely any light in the dug-out, which meant she had to hold the camera very still at a slow shutter speed. Fortunately, the photo came out sharp.

So why is this picture so beloved? Cobb thinks people respond to humor. “There is an unexpected moment … these big, tough, burly baseball players … engage in such a tender moment as a kiss.”


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Photo: Jodi Cobb
Jodi Cobb has been a National Geographic staff photographer since 1978. She is the author and photographer of the book Geisha: The Life, the Voices the Art, which explores the previously hidden world of the Japanese geisha. Cobb’s photography has been honored many times by the National Press Photographers Association, and in 1985 she was the first woman to be named the White House Photographer of the Year. Cobb was one of the first photographers to cross China after it reopened to the West in the 1970s when she undertook a two-month-long, 7,000-mile (11,262 kilometers) journey for the National Geographic book Journey into China. Her most recent articles for National Geographic magazine were “The Enigma of Beauty” (Jan. 2000) and “London” (June 2000). Cobb resides in Washington, D.C.

Read the article: Enigma of Beauty

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