Photography: An escape for a Holloman Airman

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

From a young age, Master Sgt. David Long, the 54th fighter group staff F-16 base engine manager, has been interested in photography. This is a hobby he picked up from his father but placed second to his short-lived U.S. Army career as an infantryman, and current 15 year U.S. Air Force career as the 54th fighter group staff F-16 base engine manager. Photography is David’s therapy, his way to escape from the real world. Once his sight is set through the camera lens, David is in his own world, creating images that he does not even fully notice until after he looks back at his work. David believes his work is aesthetically appealing but has never seen it as a big deal until now.

Long was just recently honored at the Pentagon for his photo contribution to the Wounded Warrior Healing Arts Exhibit.  Not only was he coined by Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, the Director of Defense Health agency, but one of his photos was placed as the frontrunner of the exhibit. The rest of his photography and biography are prominently displayed at Apex one and two of the Pentagon.

“I wasn’t even a member of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program until July 2016,” Long said. “In January I got contacted by them saying, ‘hey since we know your art work is photography, send us some shots and a quick bio and picture of you.’”

Long sent his photos to the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program office in San Antonio, Texas, and was contacted back in April 2017.

“They said, ‘hey your pictures are getting put up in the Pentagon in the Wounded Warrior Healing Arts Exhibit’ so I was kind of blown away,” Long said. “I was like holy cow it’s not in a broom closet.”

Long said he received a certificate for his photography and further recognition from the distinguished guests.

“Mrs. Goldfein, a three star general, and the Director of the Defense Health Agency made an appearance,” Long said.

“I really picked up photography when I was on my deployment,” said Long. “I was an air advisor for the MI-17 program, so I was down in Kandahar for a year and shot about 9,000 photos. It was good and then it just all came back. Half the time I take the shots and I forget about them, then I go back and actually look at them and think wow.”

Long said people enjoy his photos and has even printed and sold some of those images to people who like his work.

“Once I get my camera out of the bag and start shooting, I forget about it all, which for me is my therapy,” Long said. “I just forget about stuff, I get involved in the camera.”

Long also takes photos of wounded warriors competing at the Air Force trials and at their training camp. After his shoots, he posts the photos of all the warriors competing and training online and does not charge people for them.

“It’s kind of like my giving back to them because the biggest thing I’ve noticed, especially during my deployment, is that you do all this awesome stuff and you never get a picture of it,” Long said. “Being able to shoot these photos for these guys and gals, it’s cool to see their reaction like ‘holy cow I was doing that’ and ‘wow that’s an amazing shot thanks’.”