It is a great privilege to kick of the second Monday Minute feature with a Q&A with army photographer Ssgt Daniel Harmer. I interviewed Danny several years ago for a feature in Amateur Photographer magazine on shooting in war zones, so it’s great to be able to feature him here and get an update on what he’s been up to as a photographer in the army.
Danny has served in the Army for 15 years, of which 8 years was as a military policeman. He then decided to have a career change and transferred to the Army Photographic trade which is part of the RLC. He his currently working at a training establishment in Hereford teaching photography and has served around the world and on numerous operations including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
What has been the most memorable assignment/project you have photographed and why?
I have been lucky enough to photograph some amazing events in some eye opening locations, but my most memorable photographic tasks have to be working within Media Operations at Headquarters London District and Operation Herrick 10 in Afghanistan.
The locations and environment couldn’t be further apart, however both were challenging to photograph. London was all about shiny boots, best uniform and loads of pomp and ceremony: in 2011 I was the main Army photographer to cover the Royal wedding of Will & Kate – this had a very big build up and was one of the major events to happen in the UK for years.
During 2009 I deployed as part of a three man Combat Camera Team (CCT) covering all major military events in Afghanistan: during this period I was involved in a three week operation called Panthers Claw. This was the start of an offensive operation that is still continuing to this day to move and disrupt the Taliban from areas within Helmand Province in order to bring stability and growth to areas. This has to be the most challenging photographic task that I have conducted due to the fighting, environment and conditions.
What do you love most about photography?
The main aspect of photography that I enjoy has to be the opportunity to photograph different events in some wonderful and not so wonderful locations; I’m constantly learning new techniques and being challenged to improve my skills.
What’s the best photography lesson anyone gave you?
I remember when I attended the initial photographic selection course to become a photographer where I was given a lesson from an ex-RAF photographer on composition: it was a couple of hours long but in that time I learnt so much with regards to the basics of a good image. This included all the good things like leading lines, foreground interest, rule of thirds etc.
Name one picture that made you say “I wish I could take a photo like that”?
I enjoy taking high end sports photography, something that I unfortunately don’t get a great deal of opportunity to do. I’m also a keen cyclist and photographed the Tour de France in Paris last year as a spectator. I have seen some amazing photographs from this event and would love to get the opportunity to cover the whole event from start to finish over three weeks.
Graham Watson has produced some great images of the Tour – there are too many images to choose one but if I could swap jobs this would have to be the job for me.
If you could choose to shoot with just one lens, what would it be and why?
It would have to be my Nikon 24mm – 70mm lens: I use this lens pretty much every day and in Afghan it took a real battering and still kept going.
Thank you Danny for sharing this information!
Crown Copyright – Images by SSgt Dan Harmer RLC