Army cuts: Photographers will learn fate this summer

April 5, 2011

The British Army?s team of professional photographers will learn this summer whether they are due to lose their jobs as talks continue over their fate amid massive budget cuts.

Last year Amateur Photographer (AP) revealed the Army?s plan to slash two-thirds of its professional photographers and to cut all photographic training for 2011 in the wake of a huge cut to Britain’s defence budget.

The move would leave just 15 photographers from the Army’s current total of 45.

?The review is still ongoing,? a Ministry of Defence spokesman told AP today.

She said the photography unit, which is controlled by the Royal Logistics Corps, ?will form part of a wider review?.

The work of Army photographers is used to communicate operations from the frontline back home via media such as newspapers and television.

AP understands that many of the Army’s photographic assignments also involve ‘intelligence surveillance’ operations.

And the Imperial War Museum uses images from the frontline to update its archive every three years.

Cuts could see the Army increasingly rely on amateur images captured by soldiers, hundreds of whom develop an interest in photography while serving in the armed forces.

Last year former Chief of the General Staff Sir David Richards said that photographs from battlegrounds such as Afghanistan are a crucial way of communicating the ‘role of the Army’ to the public back home.

‘Digital communication has transformed the way we fight wars,’ he said.

‘Photography is even more important today and is part of our campaign,’ he added, explaining that digital photos can be distributed worldwide at the ‘press of a button’.

In 2007, another former head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said: ‘All of us who have served on operations know the importance of Army photography.

‘Of course it [photography] is important to support commanders in their operations and planning of their operations.

‘But I think, particularly, it is important as a way of recording and disseminating images from those who are doing their business at the front end… to get their images back home.’

The MoD said it expects the results of its review to be announced in the summer.

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