As an amateur photographer, for years I have been following the Combat Camera (COMCAM) units of various armies with great interest.
COMCAM are soldiers specialized in capturing photographs and filmingthe activity of their armies in areas of operations. Their work is not merely advertising: they have a very important role in information operations (IO) and specifically in psychological operations (PSYOPS). In fact, in some armies COMCAM are assigned to psychological warfare units.
There are armies that have COMCAM that are true artists, such as Latvia and Finland. The big difference between the COMCAM of these two countries is that in other armies soldiers are trained for this work, while in Finland and Latvia, professional photographers from civilian life receive military training to carry out COMCAM missions strong> and contribute their knowledge to the Armed Forces.
The difference is clearly observed in the works that these two Baltic countries do, of fabulous quality. Proof of this is, for example, the spectacular short film published by the COMCAM of Finland a week ago, showing their activity (in the video we see the six COMCAM active in the Finnish Defense Forces) and that of its Armed Forces (the video is in Finnish, you can activate the automatic subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):
The description of the video, published on the YouTube channel of the Puolustusvoimat (Finnish Defense Forces), notes the following: "The combat camera, i.e. the combat camera unit, describes the actions of the defense forces in all conditions. The cameramen COMCAM fights with the force of gravity, so that defense forces can transmit the image directly from the center of events. COMCAM is a strong information operations capability."
Regarding the recruitment of this unit's professional, the video description states: "Cameramen are media professionals who receive versatile combat training. Each year, the COMCAM unit selects 6-10 photography professionals for demanding recruit training.Those who have completed service are assigned to wartime COMCAM missions."
The results of this way of understanding a COMCAM unit are visible in the video itself and in the screenshots that you can see in this post.
The philosophy of this form of recruitment is clear: people with real talent for photography and film are rare, and their knowledge can provide great help in the aforementioned information operations. Does it make more sense to recruit soldiers to act as photographers, or to recruit photographers to do their work in an army? I encourage you to contribute your opinion in the comments.
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