While most soldiers in the Egoz combat unit are doing exhausting Krav Maga (hand-to-hand combat) exercises, learning camouflage techniques and navigating morning to night, six of their friends are taking part in something completely different. These six soldiers, picked from their entire class which completed the combat course, will now sit in a classroom for one week learning about the aperture adjuster, proper composition, shutter and speed. No, there’s no mistake here - these are all photography terms. And these are Egoz combat soldiers learning photography.The training will focus not only on the basics of taking a good picture, but also on what is necessary to have in the picture in order to properly convey to the viewer what the soldiers themselves are seeing:
The course, taught by IDF field photographers from the Spokesperson unit, was created in order to teach these select soldiers the basics of photography. The results will bring authentic footage of operational activities from the soldiers’ points of view, their photos a potentially useful tool for Israel’s efforts in explaining the army.
It’s difficult trying to teach so much in such a short period of time, so the focus is placed on several topics. “It’s impossible to teach four years worth of material in five days, therefore our main goal is to practice photographing most things and to focus on what’s photographically problematic about a situation,” says 1st Sgt. Rodansky.The problem is that the IDF should not have to devote any time all to this--instead, concentrating on the skills the soldiers need to defend themselves and Israel.It is the fact that for every battle there is a parallel battlefield in the arena of world opinion has made this necessary.
During Operation Cast Lead, for example, combat soldiers took video footage of a school booby-trapped by Hamas. But soldiers filmed only the cables surrounding the school and did not capture footage of the actual bomb. As a result, viewers did not understand what was problematic about the imagery. “This only proves how important the course is,” says 1st Sgt. Rodansky. “If 20% of the time soldiers apply 70% of what they’ve learned here and come out with just one good photo, it’s worth the round-the-clock training all year. The influence these photos have is huge.”
Technorati Tag: Photography.