Photojournalism in a Combat Environment

To many of us civilians, the world of the military can seem strange and foreign. Staff Sargent Ryan Crane, The United States Air Force’s top photographer of 2011, doesn’t have the luxury of time and comfort that most of us do, and must work in some of the most intense and unstable conditions imaginable. Despite this, the way he describes his beginnings and education in photography might sound very familiar.  Many photographers may relate with his experiences, and how he stumbled over the same hardships that we all did as amateurs:

Still, this video, honest and touching, gives profound insight into the unique difficulties of members of the military and their families. In spite of, or more likely because of these hardships, the photographs that come out of his harrowing experiences have a particularly astonishing significance. In the midst of the worst conditions, moments of human connection and peace shine with a brilliance rarely seen anywhere else.

military photography
This relates back to the idea that the best photographs are made not by some divine talent bestowed from on high, but by anyone with the strength and courage to face the places and situations that others avoid. In recent decades science has proved over and over that “natural ability” isn’t much more than a myth – that ability is wrangled by dedication and hard work, of which Sgt. Crane is an inspiring example.

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