By T. Anthony Bell, Fort Lee Public Affairs OfficeApril 9, 2008
A Fort Lee Soldier has been recognized by one of the oldest photography competitions in the country.
First sergeant Celia L. Feller, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade, took third place in two different categories of the All-Army Digital Photography Contest, the 50th iteration of the annual Army imaging contest.
Feller, who also placed in the competition two years ago, said she is honored to have placed again.
"I'm always excited about not just winning, but having the opportunity to show some photographic craftsmanship and share a humanistic approach to what Soldiers represent," she said. "I think the contest is an awesome event."
The contest is comprised of two divisions - Active Duty and all others - with six different categories in both color and monochrome. This year was the first year in which contestants entered their images online.
Feller, a fine-art photographer who developed her talent using film, went up against several hundred other entries in the monochrome categories of 'experimental' and 'Army Values,' new to this year's competition. Her experimental entry, "A Legacy Never Dies," is a double exposure film image (scanned) that features a cannon and drill sergeant. Drill sergeants are no longer assigned to Fort Lee and she wanted to depict a bygone era.
"Fort Lee has transitioned to AIT with platoon sergeants therefore this particular photo represents a time in history," said Feller. "Symbolically, the drill sergeant has always been associated with training and rifle marksmanship and the cannon represents that legacy."
With the image, "Army Values," Feller sought to make a personal artistic expression about the Army's current advertising slogan, "Army Strong," with a Soldier holding a weapon, the veins in his arms clearly visible.
"With the Army changing its motto to 'Army Strong,' and the category being Army Values, the concept was to capture power and strong character," she said.
Feller, who has almost 19 years of service, said the Army and Soldiers have been her biggest motivation.
"Soldiers and their lives have always been my inspiration to capture the military theme," she said. "But I'm driven by the old masters such as Edward S. Curtis and Edward Stiechen to photograph in black and white. I work the creative aspects through symbolism and even the abstract concepts."
This may be Feller's last year in entering the contest as an Active Duty Soldier. She said she has plans to retire within the next two years and is set for re-assignment to Fort Hood, Texas, in the near future.
"My journey in the Army is coming to an end, and yes, whether it is full time or part time photography, it will be a part of my life," she said. "However, in the future I foresee a book on the horizon. And in that book one could possibly see the last visages of traditional black and white photographs, as we all know the digital age is upon us."