At Telstar Logistics. we believe that some the most interesting photography in the world right now is taking place among people who would not traditionally have been called "photographers."
The folks taking these fab photos are simply men and women going about their jobs — only, they do so while carrying digital cameras. And thanks to the miracle of the global Internets, these prolific amateurs also have access to a distribution platform that makes it easy to share their work. The results are often astonishing, whether the photos come from a mariner who blogs from the high seas or a construction worker who carries a camera as he builds skyscrapers and bridges.
Consider also the example of Staff Sergant Andrew Crissman, shown to the left. Crissman is a crew member aboard a CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter assigned to the "Ugly Angels" of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362. He has an unusual job which is both very dangerous and very well-suited to good photography: Crissman is a tail-gunner who operates a machine gun mounted to the rear ramp of his helicopter. Here is a photo of SSgt Crissman at work over Iraq:
What's going on in the image? Crissman explains the function (and limitations) of his set-up:
The thin dark line is my ICS cord so I can talk, the thicker green webbing that goes from the center of my back and across the deck is my Gunners Belt or "safety tether". The fun part is finding that fine line between to short and to long. If the belt is to long then I can hang off the ramp when I am on this side of the weapon (that's bad), but If it is to short then I can not get behind the gun if I move to the other side of the ramp. I have discovered a couple of tricks to make it easier, but there is no real solution.
Inconveniences aside, however, the position also affords some stunning views, such as this one taken from his "office chair:"
Dash Two crossing from Right to Left during a low level training flight. This is my view of the war, hanging off the ramp of a giant helicopter facing backwards, crouched down behind this .50 caliber machine gun. I can't ever tell you were we are going but I know all about were we have been.
Judging from his most recent photos, SSgt Crissman has now completed his tour of duty in Iraq. What a relief! There'd been a long interval since he'd posted his previous batch of pictures, and we'd feared for the worst. So while will miss his photos from Iraq, Telstar Logistics is thrilled that he's safe... and home again.
My War (Flickr photoset by Andrew Crissman)
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 (Official website)
A Secret Peek Inside the New Bay Bridge
(All photos above by Andrew Crissman)