1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice
We are a non commercial community interested only in the discussion of all things military. We do not sell or authorise the use of images hosted on our servers, if you wish to purchase or use imagery contact the uploader directly.(you will need to register). Any requests received to purchase or use imagery will be ignored. Thank you and welcome to MI.Net
Dismiss Notice
You have been here as a guest for a while, I guess we are doing something right? Register as a member and join in the discussions, its completely free and we would welcome your contributions. All the best admin - MI.Net

photography History of Photography within the Military

Discussion in 'All Non Military Discussion' started by Matzos, Mar 2, 2005.


  1. Matzos United Kingdom

    Matzos Mi Captain MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    193
    The Royal Air Force Photographic Trade

    World War One highlighted the emerging importance of the aeroplane and photographic aerial reconnaissance. In the summer of 1915 formal photographic training got under way to supply photographers to handle the increased demand for good pictures, especially from the air, this photographic requirement was equally indispensable during the Second World War. The operational usefulness and demand for photography within the RAF has grown in line with the technological advancement in all aspects of photography.

    The trade is controlled by the RAF Engineering Branch and has a current establishment of approximately 420 personnel, including Officers, Senior and Junior Ranks, with a mixture of male and female personnel. This being the largest military establishment of service photographers in the armed services.

    Recruitment as a photographer is through the RAF Careers Service starting with the 7 weeks general service training at RAF Halton. 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 completed recruit training, an intensive course begins at the Defence School of Photography at RAF Cosford, in Albrighton. The course is designed to teach personnel all aspects of basic general photography, aerial imagery production and includes; chemistry, light & optics, sensitometry, mathematics, darkroom and camera techniques, digital techniques in addition to the specialist processing and printing equipment for the reconnaissance aspect of the trade. On successful completion of the basic twenty six week course the candidate is promoted to Leading Aircraftsman and if he/she has reached the national standards, an NVQ at level three in photography is awarded. They are then drafted to a section where the role can be ground photography, air photography, bulk reproduction or into the lithographic field where further training will be given.

    After some years in the field and selection for promotion to the rank of Corporal personnel return to the Defence School of Photography for a 13 week further training photographic course. This increases the level of knowledge and ability in their theory and practical competence. In addition they will also be taught, in readiness for promotion, departmental management and organisational skills. After further experience and selection for promotion to Sergeant they return for a 3 week photographic management course. Courses offering a more in-depth knowledge of specific photographic fields such as: reversal colour printing, video production; public relations; digital techniques are also attended as the job specification of a particular draft requires.

    The subject matters covered by an RAF Photographer is as varied as the locations and can include; tactical and strategic aerial reconnaissance, intelligence, portraiture, defect, video, aircraft cine processing, digital imagery, public relations, lithographic and ceremonial. These are to name only a few of the large variety of photographic tasks likely to be undertaken by an RAF Photographer.

    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.

    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 45. The branch is headed by the Master Photographer who is the Army Senior Warrant Officer photographer.

    Branch recruitment is by request and selection from serving personnel of the Army, and is normally heavily oversubscribed. 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 (however completion can sometimes mean demotion, as personnel are willing to drop down the ranks to join the specialisation). 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.

    After some years in the field personnel return to the Defence School of Photography for a four-month advanced photographic course. This increases the level of knowledge and ability in their theory and practical competence. In addition they will also be taught, in readiness for promotion, departmental management and organisational skills. Courses offering a more in-depth knowledge of specific photographic fields such as: video production; public relations; press work and intelligence photography are also attended as the job specification of a particular post requires.

    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 their 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, are to name only a few of the large variety of photographic tasks likely to be undertaken by a an Army Photographer.

    The Royal Navy Photographic Trade

    The formation of the photographic branch (around 1919) was founded on the need of the Royal Navy to photographically record and analyse the firing of ships' guns and various other weapon systems. The operational usefulness and demand for photography within the RN has grown in line with the technological advancement in all aspects of photography.

    The branch is controlled by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and has one of the smallest contingents of personnel, with its current strength at approximately 85, including Officers, Senior and Junior Rates.

    Branch recruitment is by request from existing members of the RN and is normally heavily oversubscribed. 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 DCAE 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 Leading Airman Photographer. They are then drafted to a section to work among more experienced photographers, allowing them the opportunity to build on the framework of their basic training.

    After some years in the field personnel return to the Defence School of Photography for a four month advanced photographic course. This increases the level of knowledge and ability in their theory and practical competence. In addition they will also be taught, in readiness for promotion, departmental management and organisational skills. Courses offering a more in-depth knowledge of specific photographic fields such as: video production; public relations; press work and intelligence photography are also attended as the job specification of a particular draft requires.

    Although controlled by the Fleet Air Arm the branch is responsible for all photography in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. RN photographers are based in various Shore Establishments; Ships; Air Squadrons, both fixed wing and rotary; and Royal Marine Units throughout the RN. Wherever the Royal Navy finds itself on active duty you can be sure of finding a Royal Navy Photographer in close proximity.

    The subject matters are as varied as the locations and can include; intelligence, portraiture, defect, video, cinematography, public relations and ceremonial photography , to name only a few of the large variety of tasks likely to be undertaken by an RN Photographer.

    History of the Defence School of Photography

    WW1 1914 - 1918
    "Necessity is the mother of Invention" and so it was in the summer of 1915 with the founding of the first technical training school, known then as the School of Photography at South Farnborough. Initially the training courses had to be compressed into a ten-day time scale due to the required numbers of trained men. New buildings were later constructed by German POWs and came into use in 1917 (the only permanent building erected for the Royal flying Corps during the war).

    Between the wars
    At the close of WW1, the improvements in technology (and the introduction of roll film) created enormous potential for map-making photography and aerial reconnaissance. The peace however, was not to last and the stagnation of training between the wars changed into frenzied activity in 1935 by the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. The training programs were rapidly intensified and extra accommodation was quickly provisioned at Farnborough.

    WW2 1939 - 1945
    After the outbreak of the Second World War, it became necessary, by the summer of 1940, to open an additional second school at Blackpool using a hastily converted Technical College (still standing there today). The millions of vital pictures produced by the trained photographers are best known publicly as the post strike pictures of the Dam Busters raid and the discovery of V1 and V2 rocket sites at Peenemunde.

    Post WW2
    After the war the School had to move from Farnborough to improvised accommodation at Farnham and then in 1948 on to Wellesbourne-Mountford, near Stratford-on-Avon, where it remained until October 1963. It then moved to temporary accommodation at Cosford, where it joined the "Photographer Boy Entrant" training (which had been there since 1956). A new purpose built design was constructed and opened on 3rd December 1965, by the late Air Marshall Sir Alfred Earle, KBE CB, a former student and Deputy Chief Instructor (during the 1930's).

    The Joint School of Photography
    In 1972 the School became the training center for all HM Forces photographers as the Joint School of Photography with the closure of the Royal Navy School of Photography and the Army School of Photography. Since then the reputation of the school has acquired the highest standards of training in photography.

    The Defence School of Photography
    On 6th June 2003 the Joint School of Photography was re-named to become "The Defence School of Photography" under the command and control of the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre, Chicksands, to form part of the first military federated training organisation. The renaming suggests a wider remit for the school than first envisaged and the next logical step in the schools history.
     
    Bombardier and saiga like this.
  2. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

    Messages:
    4,756
    Likes Received:
    4,125
    Trophy Points:
    293
    Cant believe I missed this one Matzos, very informative post mate (Y)

    Only five years late solafsolthum
     
  3. GunBunnyInaMAB

    GunBunnyInaMAB Mi Lieutenant MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Just like the military... First to go, Last to know! Hey, better late than never!!!
     
  4. Wig Ireland

    Wig Mi Private MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    4
    Bombardier likes this.
  5. Wig Ireland

    Wig Mi Private MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    4
  6. Matzos United Kingdom

    Matzos Mi Captain MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Well my career as a military photographer is now coming to an end, 14 April 2013 is my last day and then on the 15th out into the big wide world.

    I have had an excellent 37 year career, raising through the ranks to become the senior RAF photographer, I have undertaken postings/tasks that some will only dream of doing. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. I can only say thank you to the photographers I have worked for and those who have worked for me, as it is these people that have made my journey such a great one. The uniform has gone, well still got the odd bit and now I'm waiting for is my first pension payment in the coming months.

    Also it now gives me more time for sites like this and of course continuing the work on my site.

    Cheers - Mick
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2013
    Bombardier likes this.
  7. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

    Messages:
    4,756
    Likes Received:
    4,125
    Trophy Points:
    293
    That would be me then, I dream of being at some of your postings and I dont even know what they were, I just know they would have been amazing.
    Enjoy your retirement Mick, You deserve it (Y)
     
  8. John A Silkstone United Kingdom

    John A Silkstone Mi General MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    1,221
    Likes Received:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Great read Matzos. Hope you have now settled down.

    Silky
     
  9. Matzos United Kingdom

    Matzos Mi Captain MI.Net Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    743
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Thanks Silky,
    I have a number of projects on the go so I'm kept busy. I should start posting again here as this was the first forum I joined, I'm only sorry that I have been away for so long.
    Time to search through my image archives and see what I can upload.

    Mick
     
  10. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

    Messages:
    4,756
    Likes Received:
    4,125
    Trophy Points:
    293
    Nice one Mick look forward to seeing them and glad your keeping busy ;)
     
Loading...

Share This Page