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British Army Annual Photographic Competition

British Army Annual Photographic Competition - The winners of the British Army’s Annual Photographic Competition were announced at the National Army Museum at an event hosted by General Sir Richard Dannatt KCB CBE MC ADC Gen, Chief of the General Staff.

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Press Release

CASEVAC by Sapper Ian Chapman

CASEVAC by Sapper Ian Chapman won both Army Experience Amateur Winner and Best Overall Image.

This year’s entries, judged by David Viggers, Chief Photographer - Reuters UK and celebrated PR photographer Jim Marks, came from a wide mixture of operational theatres, UK bases and adventurous training exercises. The competition attracted a total of 589 entries from both amateur and professional photographers.

This year’s prize winners were as follows:
  • Army Experience Professional winner - Into The Mist taken by Sergeant Will Craig
  • Army Experience Amateur Winner - CASEVAC taken by Sapper Ian Chapman
  • Best Army Equipment Professional Winner - Yorkie taken by Corporal Russ Nolan
  • Best Army Equipment Amateur winner - Re-Supply taken by Sapper Ian Chapman
  • Best Digital Award Professional winner - Close Protection taken by Sergeant Mick Howard
  • Best Digital Award Amateur winner - Go taken by Sapper Ian Chapman
  • Best Sporting Image Professional winner - Harry’s Game taken by Sergeant Gary Tyson
  • Best Sporting Image Amateur winner - Reaching for the Line taken by Captain Chris Cox
  • Professional Photographer of Year - Portfolio by Corporal Russ Nolan
  • Amateur Photographer of Year - Portfolio by Sapper Ian Chapman
  • Best Overall Image - CASEVAC taken by Sapper Ian Chapman

Professional Army photographers are, first and foremost, soldiers enduring the same risks as their Combat Arm counterparts. Tragically, whilst serving as a professional Army photographer in Afghanistan, Corporal Mike Gilyeat, of the Royal Military Police, lost his life in May 07. As a tribute to Corporal Gilyeat, and dedicated to his memory, the winner of the Best Overall image was also presented with a new Silver trophy, the Corporal Gilyeat Cup. The award was presented by Corporal Gilyeat’s father.

The unveiled winning entries, along with a selection of commended images, will remain at the National Army Museum within the Modern Army Exhibition Hall as a permanent exhibition.
This year’s competition was kindly sponsored by Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Calumet, The Sun, Mekon, Speakeasy Productions, Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) and Soldier Magazine. .

About the Army Photographic Trade

The formation of the Army photographic branch (around 1915) was founded on the intelligence value placed on the photographs gathered in the First World War, by the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps. These pilots (the forefathers of the RAF) flew over enemy trench lines and gun emplacements in order to capture the images required to analyse the enemy strengths and weaknesses.

From then on the task of capturing imagery within the Army fell to the Army Film & Photographic Unit (AFPU), this unit comprised of volunteer soldiers from a variety of cap badges. The AFPU was disbanded in 1948.

There was some considerable gap before photography was established as a trade by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), in 1993 the RAOC was one of the founding Corps of what is now the Royal Logistic Corps.

Like the other armed forces, the operational usefulness and demand for photography within the Army has grown in line with the technological advancement in all aspects of photography.

The branch, controlled by the Royal Logistic Corps, has one of the smallest contingents of personnel, with its current strength at approximately 40. The branch is headed by a Warrant Officer Class 1, holding the title of Command Master Photographer he is the Army Senior Warrant Officer photographer.

Branch recruitment is by request and selection from serving personnel of the Army. Potential candidates are expected to display above average qualities of confidence, self reliance, tact and the ability to work unsupervised. Once a possible recruit has been accepted to join, an intensive course begins at the Defence School of Photography at RAF Cosford, in Albrighton.

The course is designed to teach personnel of varied trade backgrounds, from chef to electrician, all aspects of basic general photography including; chemistry, physics, sensitometry, mathematics, darkroom and camera techniques. On successful completion of the basic six month course the candidate is promoted to Corporal. If possible the newly trained photographers are posted to a unit to work among more experienced photographers, allowing them the opportunity to build on the framework of their basic training.

Although controlled by the Royal Logistics Corps the branch is responsible for all photography in the Army, and their personnel will find themselves attached to the various regiments of the British Army - indeed, wherever the Army finds itself on operational duties there will be a photographer present.

The subject matters are as varied as the locations and can include intelligence, portraiture, defect, video, cinematography, public relations and ceremonial.

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