By Brian Schlumbohm , Fort Wainwright PAOJanuary 13, 2011
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - If you are a Soldier stationed at Fort Wainwright, there is a good chance you've been to the photography studio. Whether it's a Department of the Army photo for your official records, a head-and-shoulders photo for pre-deployment or passports needed for family to travel to the next assignment, the photography studio located in Building 3025 provides official photographic needs for more than 6,000 Soldiers serving at Fort Wainwright.
Carol Holley, an employee with Salish & Kootenai Technologies, is the photographer, the receptionist and the technician working the one-person shop located just behind Natural Resources.
Holley has worked in graphics and photography for many years. At the Fort Rucker, Ala., crafts shop, she found she didn't like the heat. After asking herself "How far north can I get'" she decided on Alaska in 1978 to try it for a year. After finding she liked the "cooler" weather she decided to stay. She spent most of her time at Fort Greely before taking a job on Fort Wainwright. Having been at this job for more than four years she is happy with the work and the area.
A typical day starts early for Holley. Minutes ahead of their appointed times, Soldiers arrive with dress uniforms in hand and extra attention having been paid toward haircuts and appearance; they come prepared for a DA photo session, clean and sharp.
After the preliminaries of paperwork and disappearing into a changing room, a Soldier emerges in full attire except for hat and shoes. Looking over his uniform in different lighting, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarrad Walter, a pilot with the 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, begins checking over his uniform, preparing to have his first DA photo taken since his last promotion. "I recently became a warrant officer and my last one was as enlisted," he said. "I wanted to make sure my records were up-to-date in case they were reviewed for any reason."
Holley takes time with each Soldier to make sure they get the best possible photo. She helps by giving the customer a visual check-over, making sure the uniform is clean and worn properly. She also keeps a book of regulations open on a nearby desk for Soldiers to use if there are any doubts.
After the once-over is accomplished, Holley takes the customer into the studio and prepares him for the photo. Making sure all looks well, she positions him for the photograph and takes her place behind the camera. A toy monkey sits atop of the studio's camera stand staring down toward the subject. It goes by the name "Monkey" she explains. It doesn't have a story other than helping out occasionally during passport shoots with little kids and frowning Soldiers. "It makes me feel like a Sears photographer" she says jokingly.
After the photos are taken, she and the customer view them on a large screen and they discuss which photo to go with. After some information is taken down, the Soldier's job is finished.
Holley saves the image to a database to be worked with later and ultimately submitted to the Department of the Army Photo Management Information System. "The photos become a part of their permanent official records," Holley explained. Being an official document, there are rules and regulations governing its handling. It must be taken at an authorized photographic facility or a commercial contract facility. The DA photo follows a Soldier throughout his/her career. As new ranks and achievements are gained by the individual it is important to keep photos updated. DA photos are used by boards for promotions, professional development education, active federal extensions, unit vacancy promotions, command selections, command sergeants major and other special recognition boards.
The importance placed on these photos comes through in the products Holley produces and in the professionalism, care and help Carol Holley shows the Soldiers in her studio. As an "official document" the DA photograph can speak volumes about the Soldier and the photographer. Check and see if your DA photos are up-to-date at: https://www.isdrad16.army.mil/dapmis/ImageAcceptProlog.do
If not, call Carol Holley at 361-6268 for an appointment.