Alex Jansen Photography | 2014 U.S. Army Digital Photography Contest Results

2014 U.S. Army Digital Photography Contest Results

March 01, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Every year, the U.S. Army holds a digital photography contest open to all of its U.S. Army servicemen in uniform and civilian-contracted employees, the dichotomy between the two mutually exclusive divisions. This competition is separate from the Department of Defense's Military Photographer of the Year contest that has a specific requirement to enter - one must be in a Military Occupational Specialty (M.O.S.) that is combat camera, public affairs, etc. related. When I stumbled upon that small caveat, I was especially disappointed because the year I discovered that competition was the year I had captured quite a few striking images from my time in Afghanistan and I was eager to enter them, confident they would do well. Sadly, it was never meant to be for this engineer officer...

But the Army hosts a competition every year dubbed the U.S. Army Digital Photography Contest, hosted by the Army's office of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (M.W.R.). This is the second year that I had entered the competition, my first being the 2013 contest in which of all the images I submitted (I don't recall the total, but approximately 8), one garnered an honorable mention in the Military Life category:

Click for a larger view.


For this year, I was feeling all the more confident and ready to present a much more comprehensive and competitive showing in as many of the categories as possible, especially since it it free to enter (as opposed to some competitions where you have to pay a certain amount per image). Those categories, with a maximum of 3 submissions in each one, are as follows:

People, Military Life, Natures and Landscapes, Animals, Still Life, Design Elements, Digital Darkroom

By category, here are the images that I submitted (click on any for a better look):


"Where is Little Hansel?"








Military Life

"Eyes Downrange, You!"

"Austrian Officer"

"Over There"


Nature and Landscapes

"Valley in Scottish Highlands"

"Stand with Me"

"Overlooking Edinburgh"


Still Life

"Weather Resistance is no Lie"

"Raspberry Garnish"

"Mountain of Bones"

Design Elements

"Glasgow Cathedral"


Digital Darkroom

"Lens Explosion"










The way the competition works is every person submits their images into the system, which is automatically tiered and compiled at the installation level at first. For example, being stationed at Fort Bragg, I was competing against all the Fort Bragg entries at the first stage. Then they are submitted to "DA Level," or Department of the Army, where all the standouts from each pool of applicants are combined and the final judging occurs. Of my 14 total entries, the ones that advanced to the DA judging were:

  • Bubbles
  • Where is Little Hansel?
  • Eyes Downrange, You!
  • Over There
  • Valley in the Scottish Highlands
  • Weather Resistance is no Lie
  • Glasgow Cathedral
  • Lens Explosion

8 out of 14, wow! I was feeling extremely confident (although I was shocked that Curiosity didn't make it at least beyond Ft. Bragg's judging - I feel it's one of my strongest portraits to date. Not to mention everyone loves babies!) and I couldn't resist checking everyday to see if the results had been finally published.

When the final results were finally published, I was awarded one Second Place and one Honorable Mention:

"Lens Explosion"
Second Place - Digital Darkroom

"Eyes Downrange, You!"
Honorable Mention - Military Life

While there are some excellent and truly fantastic photographs selected as winners--and I am honored to be counted among them-- I couldn't help but be disappointed by what I felt was a concerning percentage of the images selected. I will leave it at that and point you to the Flickr gallery and the official press release should you want to see and make any judgments for yourself.

Nonetheless what is most important is that I am incredibly proud of all the images that I selected and I believe I assembled one hell of a portfolio. And 2015's competition opens for submissions in less than 7 months (but who's counting?) and next year's collection of entries is only going to be stronger.

I'm stoked for it and I hope the judges are too.


Thanks for reading, and if you want to make sure you don't miss another post like this, I encourage you to visit and like my Facebook page as I will post all my blog updates there: Alex Jansen Photography on Facebook.

Additionally, stay tuned for BTS (Behind the Scenes) blog posts on how Lens Explosion and Weather Resistance is no Lie were made!




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