By Donald R. Winslow
FT. MEADE, MD (March 21, 2013) – Next year, maybe someone new will have a chance to win the Military Photographer of the Year title.
But it's still only a maybe.
Because after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock is thinking about maybe retiring from the military and going his way as a photojournalist in the private sector. But until he makes up his mind and hangs up his uniform – or flight suit – the odds are still pretty good in his favor.
Why? Because Lock just won the MPOY title again yesterday. For the seventh time.
His first win was in 2003. He followed that up by taking the title again in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, and then again for 2012.
Today he is the chief photographer for AIRMAN magazine and he's based in Ft. Meade. But more than two decades ago he started as an Air Force darkroom tech who went on to become a photographer, serving in peacetime as well as combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he's in combat Lock photographs more than just Air Force Airmen; he also covers the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Special Forces soldiers as they deploy in war. And in 2006, while he was assigned to the 1st Combat Camera Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, SC, Lock earned a Bronze Star in battle in Iraq.
In was in August that year, west of Baghdad in the searing heat of both desert and combat, when a soldier went down near Lock after being shot by a sniper. Telling another soldier to give him covering fire, the photojournalist ran closer to the action to where several soldiers were crouched behind cars as bullets whizzed by them. Shooting pictures of the fighting, Lock saw that the soldiers who were tending to the wounded man behind them needed a hand. Lock put down his Nikons and picked up the wounded man's M-4 rifle, ready to provide covering fire if needed while the others pulled the injured soldier to safety.
Lock is a graduate of Syracuse University’s photojournalism program, and he was one of the military photographers who participated in the book project, "A Day In The Life Of the United States Armed Forces." In this online video produced by Andrew Breese of AIRMAN magazine, the photojournalist talks about what it's been like to be a military photographer. His portfolio can be seen online at www.jeremytlock.com, along with a two-year project he's shot called "Keri's War," where Lock has documented an Airman's long battle against breast cancer. "Keri's War" can be seen online at www.keriswar.org.
NPPA has proudly sponsored the Military Photographer of the Year contest since 1961. This year's MPOY judges include J. Scott Applewhite, of the Associated Press; Nikki Kahn of The Washington Post; and photojournalist Louie Palu. The MPOY contest is coordinated by Rob Hood and Ken Hackman.