Look for MVA 2020 contest entry information updates to be posted on the MVA website no later than Oct. 31, 2020.
Military Visual Awards revitalize military media competitions
By MVA founders Jensen Stidham and Kenny Holston
“I can sleep when I’m dead.”
This saying became more than a catchphrase for us as we set out to build the world’s largest and most diverse military media competition.
From the ground up, is the classic rubric we used to create the foundation for an all-inclusive global military media competition. The self-funded program became our second and third jobs, rendering us sleepless for what feels like the last three years.
We have ignored the fact there are only 24 hours in a day. Defying the need for sleep, we stayed up countless nights to learn code, build a website, draft procedures, consult with lawyers, converse with industry partners and so much more. Establishing and managing MVA has been a tall order, to put it mildly.
But the story of how and why the MVA was created doesn’t start there. To get the full picture, we have to rewind this video to 2015.
Jensen Stidham picks up the story from here.
As the 2015 Department of Defense media competition came to a close, we were left in a state of bliss. Somehow Kenny had done it: He earned the coveted title Military Photographer of the Year, while the Marine Corps’ Matthew Callahan was named Military Videographer of the Year. Both of these talented visual communicators earned an honor so high, many would consider it the crescendo of one’s military career.
To elevate our state of delight, Kenny and I left our mark on that year’s competition by placing first and second in the photography category of “news,” which was especially meaningful to us, as we had traveled long and far covering a rigorous news beat throughout the year.
It was a tremendous triumph of which no military photographer would ever have the fortune to achieve via that style of competition within the DoD again.
It wasn’t long before stories came out in News Photographer magazine and others describing how the DoD’s Military Photographer of the Year program, also known as MILPHOG, was being restructured.