Our hearts and thoughts go out to the friends and family of photographer Bobby Model who died in Cody on Wednesday. Here is the full story from the AP.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP)
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Bobby Model, a noted adventure photographer who suffered a traumatic brain injury more than two years ago in South Africa when a chunk of concrete smashed through the windshield of his car, died Wednesday. He was 36.
Model died at West Park Hospital in Cody after a brief illness, said Sharon Miller, Model’s photo assistant. The cause of death was not immediately available.
Model’s work appeared in National Geographic, Outside, The New York Times and other publications. His assignments took him from the rivers of Burundi in search of a fabled man-eating crocodile to climbing the Nameless Tower of northern Pakistan, one of the world’s largest granite walls.
Model moved to Nairobi, Kenya, in 2004 to better position himself to cover Africa, according to a biography on his Web site. Model’s sister, Faith Model, was driving Bobby when the incident happened in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2007.
Police opened an investigation but suspended the case when it went cold.
Anne Young, Bobby’s mother, said it was a mysterious tragedy.
"You wonder why this happened. Was it a carjacking? Was it someone trying to feed a starving kid and were desperate?" Young said in an interview with The Associated Press in March 2008. "Maybe it was just a random act – wrong place at the wrong time. We don’t know."
Model was working on a National Geographic photo essay documenting the Baltistan region of Pakistan, site of a border dispute with India, around the time of his injury.
Model underwent treatment in South Africa, New York and Denver before returning to his hometown of Cody in December.
Miller said Thursday that Model’s rapid decline this week was a shock.
"I think he was just working hard, trying to stay positive," she said. "He had a lot of therapies – actively working on speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy – the whole bit. It’s such a traumatic injury, it just requires huge amounts of efforts to get back."
Model landed his first major photography assignment in 1995 when he accompanied renowned rock climber Todd Skinner to the Nameless Tower in northern Pakistan. National Geographic helped fund the journey, on which Model shot memorable images of the granite spire.
In 2006, Model was named a National Geographic Society "Emerging Explorer" because he "braves the most challenging locations to cover the toughest topics – culture, conflict and extreme adventure."
Rebecca Martin, director of the expeditions council at National Geographic, frequently called on Model for adventure assignments.
"You could send him off anywhere and he’d come back with an incredible story," Martin told The Associated Press in March 2008.
On the Net: Bobby Model photography www.m-11.com/
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