There’s a good chance you’d never consider posing in front of a camera with your shirt off. There’s also a good chance that by the time you finish reading this article, you will have reconsidered.
Poquoson resident Zac Cobb has been a professional photographer in Hampton Roads for about four years, mainly photographing babies, couples, engagements and weddings. However, for the past eight months, he’s been working on a new kind of project: a book titled Hampton Roads ‘Gives Back.’ The book will be a photo collection of people posing with their bare backs to the camera, and all of the proceeds from the book will benefit the Tidewater chapter of the organization Autism Speaks.
After Cobb’s 3-year-old son Zayden was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, Cobb wanted to find a way to promote awareness. “I was completely oblivious about everything that had to deal with autism until he was first diagnosed,” he explains. “One in 88 people are diagnosed with it right now. Boys are five times more likely to get it than girls. These are things that a lot of people don’t know anything about.”
Why shirtless? Annie Leibovitz once took a photo of rock star Iggy Pop with his bare back to the camera. Cobb had always liked the photo and had saved it on his computer as a rotating screensaver. One night he was sitting at his computer with Zayden in his lap, and every time the photo would appear, Zayden put his hand on the monitor. After 20 minutes of this repeatedly happening, Cobb got an idea. “I said, ‘I wonder if I did a photo book of just backs if people would buy it?’”