By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2011 – A contest of photographs depicting the daily life of military deployments and overseas assignments, as captured through the camera lenses of military members, veterans and diplomats, will kick off on Veterans Day.
The contest to select the 1,000 winning photos for an exhibit, Serving Abroad … Through Their Eyes, will launch Nov. 11, and continue through Presidents Day, Feb. 20, Defense Department officials said.
Winning entries will be showcased at the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum, U.S. embassies around the world, the Pentagon and other prominent, international venues in 2012, officials said.
"We're looking for the most-compelling photos that show the friendships, places, faces, losses and triumphs [of deployment]," said Army Lt. Col. Luke Knittig of DOD public affairs, who is helping to coordinate the Defense and State Department project.
Photos taken overseas since 2000 by active-duty troops, veterans and Foreign Service members should represent daily life during a deployment, in a combat zone or from a humanitarian relief mission, he said.
The goal, Knittig said, is to show everyday events through the eyes of those who serve as ambassadors representing the United States around the world. The images will be part of an audio and video montage.
Contest photos must meet the exhibit's theme of friendships, places, faces, losses and triumphs of an overseas mission, and entries will be judged by a panel of up to seven people, Knittig said.
The selecting judges will be "prominent Americans, famous and famously skilled," according to a joint department press release. Confirmed judges include retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Pulitzer prize-winning combat photographer Joao Silva, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan last year after a land mine exploded underneath him.
The 1,000 winning photos will be announced on Armed Forces Day, May 19.
The secretaries of Defense and State will invite the top 10 best of show winners to Washington as honorees for the exhibit's VIP opening next November, officials said.
The contest and exhibit are part of the State Department's upcoming Art in Embassies' 50th anniversary commemoration. That program, formalized by President John F. Kennedy’s administration, is one of the premier public-private partnership arts organizations in continuous operation in 180 countries worldwide, according to State Department officials.
The Art in the Embassies program plays an important role in U.S. public diplomacy through a culturally expansive mission that creates temporary exhibits and permanent collections, artist and cultural exchange programming, and publications, they said.
Contest rules, photo specifications and submission forms are posted on the "Serving Abroad … Through Their Eyes” website at www.ourmilitary.mil/their-eyes/serving-abroad-through-their-eyes/.