Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation announced the winners of the 2013 Army digital photography Contest earlier this month, and two Fort Campbell photographers made the list.
Army spouse Rebecca Mastrian won first place in the Still Life category, in the division for entries from Family members, Department of the Army civilians and retirees. In the active-duty division, Chap. (Maj.) Mark Levine took third in the Nature and Landscapes category. Both divisions provide photographers the opportunity to submit multiple entries in seven categories: people, military life, nature and landscapes, animals, still life, design elements and digital darkroom. Cash prizes are awarded to first, second and third place winners.
Entries for the contest were accepted from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30, 2013. It marked the first time for both Mastrian and Levine to submit photographs. For a full list of winners, visit www.armymwr.com/recleisure/artsandcrafts/.
Mastrian worked as Fort Campbell’s volunteer coordinator until last year, when she decided to leave the position in order to go to photography school in Nashville. Since that time, she stayed connected to the installation by volunteering her skills as an event photographer for MWR, shooting much of the Eagle Challenge Fitness Tour and other special activities.
“Photography has always been my hobby,” she said. “I just thought that I would see where I could go with my skill set. I was happily surprised to see that I won.”
Her winning photo, titled “The Red Reflection,” was taken for a photography school project. She provided the mask, while fellow classmates provided the ice and the rose. While all three students took photos using these elements, they all turned out differently.
“The mask is actually from when we lived in Germany; we took a trip to Venice,” Mastrian said. “The instructor talked to us about putting a red light behind it, and it just all came together … Mine was more on making an image on top of another, where you can see the complete reflection.”
Mastrian considers herself more of a wildlife photographer, so it was an extra surprise to see that the still life photo she entered on a whim actually won.
“Art is all about what that person that’s looking at it – what they see,” she said. “Not necessarily what I saw. So it’s funny how that is.”
As Mastrian molds herself into an increasingly professional photographer, she enjoys being able to experience life in a new way.
“I love being able to look at the world in a different way,” she said. “Now I can take the time and experience the art of photography. Instead of just quickly taking pictures of the kids at their birthday parties, or at a military ceremony as a friend gets promoted or changes command or something, instead of trying to catch a moment … I’m experiencing the moment as I take the picture.”
For Levine, his third place photo encapsulates the way in which he remembers being stationed in Europe, specifically Germany, for the past two years. The deputy installation chaplain reported to Fort Campbell in September 2013. It was during his time overseas that his love for landscape photography blossomed in a whole new way.
“There are a lot of wonderfully photogenic things in Europe to take pictures of,” Levine said. “I was a photographing fool over there … I really enjoy the hobby, so I was very, very pleasantly surprised when I got notified [of the win].”
“Alpine Sunrise” is aptly titled, as it shows the sun rising above the Alps in Austria. Levine snapped this lush photograph, with a 10-20 mm wide angle lens, while on a hiking trip.
“That was in July of last year, and I was on a five-day alpine hike that I took with my 15- and 12-year-old nephews in the Alps,” said the chaplain, who has been in the Army for 19 years. “It was in Austria. It was pretty phenomenal trip. We had backpacks and walked through the mountains for five days together.”
Admittedly not a portrait photographer, Levine said the European scenery gave him much inspiration. He estimates taking thousands of landscape photos while stationed there.
“When you’re in any beautiful area, and you have an eye for photography – when you’ve got the bug – there are things you just can’t not take pictures of,” Levine said. “… It’s addictive.”