Camera gives digger different focus on Army life

1 May 2024

When Warrant Officer Class Two Neil Ruskin traded his rifle for a camera, he didn’t imagine he’d be taking photos after a Taliban bombing in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.

“We were at the top of a hill when suddenly soldiers started dragging wounded civilians through,” he said. 

“I'm standing back and taking photos and just being invisible to these people as they're so focused.

“It wasn’t a nice thing to photograph, but it was something that had to be shown. That was an experience that will stay with me forever.”

It was Warrant Officer Ruskin’s first combat experiences after becoming a military photographer, a job that allowed him to blend Army with his passion.

“It sounded like everything I wanted to do, such as taking photos overseas; so I said, ‘All right, where do I sign up?’” he said.

Before he knew it, Warrant Officer Ruskin was photographing the prime minister in Iraq.

“I got told the prime minister is going to arrive on Anzac Day and you're the only one here to capture this,” Warrant Officer Ruskin said.

“The pressure was huge, especially when the prime minister's probably clearing the photos.”

'These sorts of experiences, when you first join the Army you think are impossible.'

On another occasion, he photographed Prince Harry.

“I flew around with the prince in jets and was a passenger in a car driving down these motorcades with the public screaming and yelling,” Warrant Officer Ruskin said.

“These sorts of experiences, when you first join the Army you think are impossible.”

After a shift in his career, Warrant Officer Ruskin is now Company Sergeant Major of 3rd Brigade Headquarters.

While personnel can still transfer into photographer positions, like Warrant Officer Ruskin did, civilian photographers can now join the role directly.

There are numerous Army reserve photographer positions available in capital centres and some regional centres.

Civilians interested in a career as an Army imagery specialist should speak to ADF careers.

Serving personnel interested in an imagery specialist career should speak to their brigade public affairs officer or chain of command.



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