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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Exclamation Combat Photographer

    Does anyone know about being a combat photographer for the marines. I am interested. Can anyone give me any information.
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  2. #2
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Re: Combat Photographer

    A quick look at your profile, tells me that you are somewhat familiar with the military.
    But I wonder how familiar you are with what it really means to be in the military, especially the Marines..
    But I am wondering if you are familiar with what it takes and means to be a Marine.
    Being a Marine, is extremely challenging to the say the least.
    I am not a Marine, but I am in the Army and have been in the military for several years.
    Not matter what the job you have as a Marine, when things "get hot" you will always be "humping a weapon", especially in combat.

    I will also say, that just because you want to do a particular job in the military, doesn't always mean you'll get it. Especially in the climate we are in.
    If doing this in the military is what you really want to, you might try the Air Force.

    But I kind get the impression that you don't want to do this as a service member.
    If that is the case, you could shoot for for a magazine or other media outlet.
    But again, being a professional photographer isn't that easy to get into. You have to be VERY GOOD. The main difference between an amaturer and a pro is that the pro always "get the shot".

    Just remember combat is dangerous.
    Good Luck!
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    A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in its entirety... - Ansel Adams

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  3. #3
    I can't member!?!? dmm96452's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Millersville, Maryland

    Re: Combat Photographer

    I spent 10 years in the Corps and tried to do a lateral move from the job I was in to Combat Still Photography. The field I was in was under manned and so I was not allowed.

    I seem to recall a minimum rank or time in service requirement for that MOS. If you are serious talk to a Recruiter. They can tell you what the requirements are. Just be careful. If there is a minimum time in service or rank requirement and you decide to join don't let them put you in a critical field. (one that is undermanned like mine was) If you do that you'll be stuck unless CSP is in more critical need.

    And as MTB pointed out all Marines are grunts first and whatever their assigned MOS is second. If it hits the fan it WILL NOT be a camera you'll be shooting with.
    We improve ourselves by victories over ourself. There must be contests, and you must win.
    Edward Gibbon

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  4. #4
    A loooong way from 1000! Cowgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    Re: Combat Photographer

    My Associate Photographer is a retired Marine Photographer. According to Joe, he didn't see much 'action' in his 25 years of service - Yeah Right!

    Anyway, one thing that he does comment on....

    He photographed Kennedy's Inauguration and LBJ at the White House while in the Marines. They get all of the film, and he gets no credit. He even claims that one of his shots of LBJ? was used as a billboard, and the copyright is Marine Corp.

    He also took photos of Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe during their shows, but couldn't keep any of the negs - bummer!


  5. #5
    has-been... another view's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Rockford, IL

    Re: Combat Photographer

    I met Scott Mahaskey once a few years ago - send him an email, he'll probably be able to help. Nice guy and great photographer.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Re: Combat Photographer

    I just posted a thread about my stint in Iraq. Well, a re-introduction to the forum here. I used to be an active person in this forum.
    Anyways, talk to a recruiter, HOWEVER if I were you, I'd consider the US Navy for the photog route. In the Marines, the photogs are usually taking pictures of the big green gun club in the mud. Things like that. In the Navy, the opportunities are much wider. As for combat photography, there's specific COMCAM units that take only the top 5% of the military photogs. COMCAM are becoming joint service units that are made of members of all branches as well as allied photogs sometimes.Everyone goes to the same school for photography, Defense Information School in Ft. Meade, MD (DINFOS.) As for the comment about the Air Force, that's not the best move either since the opportunities aren't as varied as the other services, especially the Navy. I'm biased about the Navy, but I spent 8 years in and have done a lot. In the AF, you certainly don't have a choice as to your preferred specialty as much as you do in the Navy and the Marines. In the AF, you attend boot camp and THEN get designated to a school based upon a wish list of yours, your aptitudes and the needs of the AF. In the Navy, you walk into a recruiter say "I want to be a photographer" They shine you on for a while about the other things you could do, but if you stick to your guns and really want to be a military photog, they will take you. The wait is usually a while in the Delayed Entry Program since you can assume that many folks these days want to be the next James Nachtwey (who is the nicest, softest spoken, humblest man I've met in the media) and the Navy/Marines are first come, first served. Basically in DEP, you're getting a reservation for a seat in school. You really have to ask yourself why you want to become a combat photog though. The simple answer to everyone I talk to who has not been there is "no you don't." Combat is the worst thing you can survive unscathed. One's body may be whole but there's a piece missing after you've seen it. I'm not trying to get too serious and dramatic as in "you don't know what it's like man!" but being a photographer for the military is one thing, but being in a dedicated combat unit is like comparing apples to lightbulbs. Ok, enough of the seriousness stuff. I'm happy to talk about all that and share my images of the invasion of Fallujah, Iraq in November '04. Just send me an e-mail to the addy I posted in my thread. Talk to you soon.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    deleted double post

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