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#WeAreNATO - the US combat photographer

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“The job of a combat cameraman is to be there to document history,” says US Army Specialist Austin Boucher, a soldier who carries a camera into battle.


Specialist Austin Boucher, US Army, is a combat cameraman who documents soldiers in peace and war, at rest and in combat. Unique among soldiers, combat cameramen run into battle with a camera in their hands, and their mission is to capture what happens for the record. In this profile, Boucher reflects on the skills needed to shoot photographs under duress, and why his job is important for the US Army and NATO at large.
Footage includes dramatised shots of Boucher in combat and on patrol, as well as soundbites from an interview.


Various shots: Boucher kitting up, raising a camera to his face

Boucher running across a street, taking cover behind a barracks house

Boucher fumbling with his camera, raising it to his face and taking pictures

Specialist Austin Boucher
Combat cameraman, US Army

“The job of a combat cameraman is to be there to document history.”

Camera shutter snap

Automatic rifle fire, shouting

Squad leader shouting: “COMCAM, let’s go!”

“It’s not easy to just be able to just put a camera to your face as, you know, the world around you is almost falling apart.

It’s the challenge of capturing something that’s live, and if it’s not captured it’s gone forever.

I think one of my favourite photos was a photo I took in Afghanistan of a team sergeant. He was glancing at his soldiers as they were laying down suppressive fire during a training event. The mountains were, they were just covered in clouds.

In Afghanistan, we were partnered with NATO forces. We were there to train, advise and assist, and I was there to document.

It takes a particular kind of person to be a combat photographer. Your job is to take photos, and to videotape other people’s perhaps even suffering, and really intimate, personal moments.

You’re asking a lot by just being there.

Photographing is really about making relationships and engaging with other people. I guess the emotional intensity is a little bit more drastic when it comes to documenting soldiers.

These soldiers, they’re young people. They’re in extreme circumstances.

To capture that moment is vitally important. My photos, my footage, it’s going to have a window into what was really happening.

Boucher’s favourite photo

Ken Burns photo panning

Various stills made by Boucher in Afghanistan
Soldiers patrolling through woods

Boucher patrolling through the woods with soldiers

Boucher photographing soldiers

Boucher taking photos of soldiers at rest

Squad leader yells orders to his men

Boucher sprints for cover behind a tree

Boucher photographs a column of soldiers as they walk past
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