OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Throughout time, photographers are responsible for capturing images that are burned into the fabric of history. From the images of the infamous Iwo Jima flag raising to wreaths placed at Arlington Cemetery. Photographers are there to capture history.
For U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Miller, capturing the perfect photo that will be remembered is something he has strived to do throughout his career.
“I would say that the most memorable thing I’ve done is captured a moment with Buzz Aldrin playing corn hole with Airmen,” Miller said. “Even though he is this huge historical figure, in that moment he was just being human, having a good time smiling and just enjoying life.”
As an Air Force photographer, Miller gets to see celebrities and stars come through every base and put smiles on the troop’s faces. However, miller believes the real moments come from showcasing the men and women behind the scenes keeping the mission going.
“I enjoy getting to photograph the people that don’t get love from the outside world”, Miller said. “When their family comments on or likes it, it’s meaningful because their parents can’t just walk onto the flight line and watch their son or daughter fix a multi-million dollar aircraft.”
With the thousands of pictures taken and the hundreds of hours editing, Miller’s images have given a face to those not always recognized.
“Having people connect with our photos means they are connecting with the subject and are realizing that we are people too,” Miller said. “We aren’t just statistics or blank faces in uniforms. Everyone has a story and we get to share a piece of that with the world.”
Miller has made a career of sharing pieces of people’s story in the military, but now his story is going through a change. He is moving onto a new chapter in his life, transitioning out of the military.
“Having everything prepared ahead of time is crucial,” Miller said. “Making check lists, goals and sticking to deadlines has helped me prepare for my transition out. There are also endless resources available to service members during their transitioning process so you don’t have to deal with the difficult stuff alone.”
As Miller’s time as a military photojournalist comes to an end there is always going to be one constant chase of trying to capture the moment. Everyone has a story, and every story deserves to be told. The challenge that lies ahead is capturing the moment that lets the world know that all of us are more than statistics and blank faces.