Stacy Pearsall is the only woman to have been named the NPPA Military Photographer of the Year two times. On top of that, she’s earned more than 10 military awards, yet when asked about her Bronze Star - the fourth highest individual military award - she declined details, simply stating, “The real heroes were in front of my camera - not me.”
In 1997, Pearsall enlisted in the Air Force at just 17 years old.
“I knew I wanted to do something creative and art-driven when I enlisted,” she said, “which is why I chose photography.”
She was permanently retired in 2010, but her work with the military and photography continued. She became a combat photographer in January 2012 and went on to cover assignments in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Horn of Africa for Operation Enduring Freedom.
“My job gave me the opportunity to see the world, experience other cultures, share people’s stories and serve my country at the same time.”
Pearsall’s photographs capture a wide range of emotions - from fear, to sadness to joy - all with compelling honesty and sensitivity, making something as raw as a combat scene seem almost poetic.
Her advice to aspiring photographers?
“Photography is more than expressing your own creativity. It’s about connecting with your subjects and allowing them to shine through your images. It’s a two-way exchange. You must open up to your subjects if you want them to do the same for you.”
Click HERE to see more amazing photographs by Stacy Pearsall.