Through Their Eyes interview

A Department of Defense newscast interview with NY Times Photojournalist Joao Silva about the beginnings of Serving Abroad...Through Their Eyes, a project that joined Art in Embassies and the U.S. Department of Defense for a special photography competition, this video is an interview describing the beginning of the competition.

Full Transcript

0:00 MICHAEL WILKEN: The Defense and State Departments have teamed up to launch Serving Abroad: Through
0:03 Their Eyes, a photography project calling out to all active duty troops and Foreign
0:08 Service Officers. Renowned New York Times photographer Joao Silva and Lieutenant
0:12 Colonel Luke Knittig join us to talk more about this project.
0:14 Gentleman, thank you so much for joining us. First, can you tell us about this project
0:18 and how it all got started.
0:19 LIEUTENTANT COLONEL KNITTIG: Well, it’s an amazing thing that has come together here,
0:22 teaming up with State, but the simple idea behind it is some of the top talent in the
0:27 world, represented here by Joao Silva and the Arts in Embassies program, we’re going
0:31 to go out and find the 1,000 most compelling photographs from those who’ve served abroad
0:36 since 200.
0:36 MICHAEL WILKEN: And what kind of pictures are we talking about? And how did you get
0:40 Mr. Silva involved?
0:41 LIEUTENTANT COLONEL KNITTIG: Well, yeah. We should get him right in here, but it’s photos
0:45 of compelling things that you’ve seen over there whether that’s loss, triumph, faces,
0:50 places; the categories are all spelled out in there. But we know– we know that missions
0:54 direct us overseas but it’s human inspiration that inspires us to do things every day, and
0:59 that’s usually what usually compels folks to take that picture. We want your best shot.
1:03 We want you to go through your hard drives and get it to us, so we have it recognized
1:09 nationally at the Smithsonian, in a traveling exhibit, and all sorts of ways that get at
1:13 the 1,000 words behind the best of any picture out there.
1:15 MICHAEL WILKEN: Well that certainly seems like a great way for service members to get
1:19 their photos out there. Mr. Silva, I know we have some of your photos. Can you talk
1:22 a little bit about some of your photos and what they mean?
1:24 JOAO SILVA: Well, I’ve been covering Afghanistan I guess since the civil war, so it’s– it’s
1:30 been a long time, early 90s. And it’s been amazing to see how history has changed and
1:36 how the country has in some ways progressed and in other regressed, but that’s just the
1:41 reality of life.
1:43 And as far as this project goes, I’ll be assisting with the selection of images. I’m honored
1:50 to be part of that. I think it’s a fantastic unique project, and there’s huge historical
1:55 value to the images. It’s important for America to see a completely different perspective
2:03 of Afghanistan, Iraq, the country where they boys are– boys go out serving and you know.
2:11 So I think it’s amazing. It’s important and I urge everybody out there to keep shooting
2:17 and to send what they have, and you know from my point of view, don’t be scared. Send whatever
2:23 you’ve got, you know. Because we want to see the reality — we want to see the reality
2:26 through your eyes, so I look forward to that. I look forward to seeing all of these amazing
2:31 images, which I’m 100% sure exist because the guys have cameras. Everybody’s got a camera.
2:36 MICHAEL WILKEN: Right, and I’m sure it will be a very different perspective than even
2:39 the images that we see from embedded reporters and things of that nature.
2:42 JOAO SILVA: Without a doubt.
2:43 MICHAEL WILKEN: Being on the front lines, right there in the fight, having a camera,
2:46 being able to get those- capture those images is going to be something that’s going to be
2:50 great for everyone to see. Now, for you sir, what do you hope this project is going to
2:54 accomplish in the long run and in the short term?
2:57 LIEUTENTANT COLONEL KNITTIG: Well, I just think it could connect so many things. It
3:00 can– it can have pictures that would otherwise just sit on a shelf somewhere or in a hard
3:04 drive, or maybe be striking and impress family members, but it can be seen on a national
3:12 stage and just connect things that really get at the human inspiration of what has us
3:17 working together and serving abroad. Of course it’s foreign service officers, it’s all of
3:22 us at work together overseas on behalf of America.
3:24 MICHAEL WILKEN: And how can service members who are interested get involved?
3:26 LIEUTENTANT COLONEL KNITTIG: Well, we try to make it as simple as we can via a form
3:30 and a website. You simply go to the website, look over the rules. Put your photo in there
3:35 in a form, and send it to us starting tomorrow.
3:37 MICHAEL WILKEN: Awesome. Thank you guys. And gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.
3:40 I appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. And if you – I’m Petty Officer Michael
3:44 Wilken for everyone here at the Pentagon channel, thanks for watching. We leave you with more
3:49 pictures from Serving Abroad: Through Their Eyes.