EDIT: Thanks for all the questions guys and gals. Hope you got an insight to what we get up to as British Army Photographers.

If you would like to see more of our work head over to our Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/BritishArmyPhotographers

Stay Safe.

I am a Bristol-based photographer who is currently serving as a British Army Photographer covering West Midlands and Wales. My photos for the army are published in local and national publications both print and digitally.

Me- http://www.jonesmrjones.co.uk/about.html

British Army Photographers on FB- https://www.facebook.com/BritishArmyPhotographers/

Comments: 255 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

geraintm77 karma

Considering how little combat there is for the British Army in Wales and the Midlands, are you criminally underused? Are you secretly hoping for Wolverhampton to rise up in revolt?

jonesmrjones10 karma

I travel all over the UK and the world to cover units. I am currently based in the Midlands.

MaximDeWinter66 karma

How is your relationship with those you photograph?

jonesmrjones61 karma

It all depends on the people you come across. At first people can be a bit 'stand off ish' but the job is all about building relationships and trust with the guys and gals. Once they get to know me a bit its all good.

Absolute_Bollocks40 karma

How do you time a photograph with a gunshot? Is it just spray and pray or something more complicated?

jonesmrjones84 karma

Its all about knowing what is about to happen and knowing the weapon system, then hoping that the D4 will capture it as 11 FPS.

For example a Challenger Two main Battle Tanks cannon will dip slightly before it fires.

BlindProphet_41338 karma

For example a Challenger Two main Battle Tanks cannon will dip slightly before it fires.

Wow I never knew that. Do you know the reason for this? Making adjustment from the sighting components to the actual barrel perhaps?

u38cg23 karma

The alignment components are fairly coarse in order to allow the gun to traverse quickly. Once on target, it aims slightly high. It physically drops across the target point and at the correct alignment the round is fired.

jonesmrjones3 karma

I have just spoken to my brother who used to be in the Royal Tank Regiment as a tankie and he said its to do with the gyroscopes and laser alignment.

Hope that helps!

Frentis22 karma

Hello, I have a couple of questions, I hope that's alright.

Firstly do you draw inspiration from other photographers? I'm thinking of someone like Don McCullin.

Secondly how do you build trust and a good relationship with the people you photograph? I'm quite interested in photography myself, especially documentary photography of the like of the Magnum photographers for example, but as a somewhat quiet and shy young man it can seem rather daunting.

Lastly how do you work on a project? With that I'm asking about your process both as preparation, during and after.

I hope I didn't ask too much. Thanks for doing this!

jonesmrjones24 karma

I get that question a lot. I dont really draw inspiration from anyone to be honest. I like to look at other peoples photos but I like to think I have developed my own style over the years.

I am a pretty laidback, approachable person and I just build up trust and a relationship with the people I meet.

When it comes to tasks, we get given a job, time, date and any other info I require. If I get time to do a recce I will. If not its just take it as it comes and deal with the job when I am there.

No worries!

Frentis7 karma

Thanks! I appreciate it.

jonesmrjones9 karma

All cool

Rypear18 karma

Hi!

If I may ask, what things are you not allowed to take photos from in the army?

What's the most gross photo you have took ever?

Thanks

jonesmrjones34 karma

There are certain bits of kit and personell that we are not allowed to take photos of. Also some people dont give consent for their photo to be taken sometimes.

Most gross thing outside of the army would probably be the placenta after my son was born in the Army would be a Goat getting killed for food in Brunei

Funky-Town13 karma

How did you find Brunei? I called it my home for a few years thanks to the army.

Rypear-25 karma

Haven't you tried taking a photo or just by a coincidence (in the army) of some guy who blew up or something? That's what I meant by the degree of "gross" I was talking about!

Thanks for answering btw.

jonesmrjones9 karma

Ah ok.

Na nothing like that.

No worries.

jonesmrjones18 karma

I am off to bed now.

Please submit any questions and I will answer them in the morning!

Thanks for showing interest and speak soon!

Stay Safe.

bjossi9716 karma

What's in your camera bag?

jonesmrjones4 karma

It's forever changing. Different for each job.

I did a blog post on what I carried in Brunei here- http://www.jonesmrjones.co.uk/blog/2016/1/whats-in-my-bag-in-the-jungles-of-brunei

LongoSpeaksTruth10 karma

Besides the current era, what other previous era / decade of the British Military would you have liked to have photographed ?

jonesmrjones5 karma

Thats a good question!!

It would have to be the Anglo-Zulu War. Rorkes drift would be amazing!

DerpAntelope10 karma

What is the favourite place you've been with the Army and why?

jonesmrjones15 karma

I would have to say Brunei. I only went there this Jan.

It was amazing! I did a blog post about it on my site- http://www.jonesmrjones.co.uk/blog/2016/2/up-to-my-neck-in-water-in-the-jungles-of-brunei

Seviee2 karma

Coming from Brunei, thank you! /r/Brunei

jonesmrjones3 karma

hi!

sixbrow9 karma

Hey, maybe too late to the party.Since the Vietnam War its been argued that journalists will never been given free reign to report a war, since the reporting of that era is seen to have turned the public against the government.

Have you experienced this? Are you told where to go and what to photograph? and are your photographed censored before being released?

jonesmrjones12 karma

We are not told exactly what to do but we need to know first and foremost 'what the story is' We then have pretty much free reign on how we approach each task.

All our work gets sent to the picture desk for release.

Loser1996126 karma

How do you separate yourself from what is going on so that you can get a good photo ? Do you feel like photos reflect what is truly going on in some situations ?

jonesmrjones8 karma

I dont separate myself. I like to get involved in everything. I prefer to use a wide angle lens so that my photos 'feel' like you are there with them.

loukitch6 karma

I am a videographer, very recently been able to make a living off it, but I have been searching far and wide for a way to get in with the Royal Navy or the Army to do work with them and cannot find the door to knock on.

Any tips on where to throw my cv or showreel for their adverts and websites etc?!

I am completely envious of your job, congrats!

jonesmrjones5 karma

Sweet.

I have no idea to be honest. I know the Military outsource all their advertising to outside agencies. Not sure hat ones though.

Sorry I couldn't be of help.

Thanks, I love it!

Deadricdoom5 karma

[deleted]

jonesmrjones7 karma

Cheers.

When I was in the Signals I passed my H licence so I used to drive the old 432 Armoured Fighting Vehicles.

Since being a phot I have not really been for any 'rides' in any of them.

NurseSophie895 karma

Did your media officer give you the OK for this ama? I know they can get shitty about little things like this.

jonesmrjones6 karma

Didn't ask them. Im not going to come on here and portray the Army in a bad way so they should be good with it.

I've done a few interviews before anyway.

waynster4 karma

Hi - I was in the TA back in 1990 in a predominantly ceremonial unit and I somehow ended up being the de facto photographer. I've followed many of military feeds of photographers and love the work you do.

I'm just wondering how you get a gig like that? A lot of the photographers I have seen are serving military NCO's but from your intro I take it you are a civvy subcontracting. Also what sort of training must you go through to work in that environment? I am sure the military would not just let you loose around ordinance and so on without some sort of overview - was there much training required?

jonesmrjones6 karma

I am a serving soldier. The intro was taken from my personal site that I do my other work on.

yippeekayaye3 karma

What rank and previous experience would you need to be a photographer?

jonesmrjones18 karma

You need to be at least a LCpl with a recommendation to promote to Cpl, be fully fit to deploy and have a passion for photography.

jonesmrjones10 karma

You need to be at least a LCpl with a recommendation to promote to Cpl, be fully fit to deploy and have a passion for photography.

natej6114 karma

Sir, thank you for doing such an amazing AMA

What kind of camera do you use and why? Are you mainly combat camera or public affairs? Were you trained in any other jobs other than photographer (like combat engineer, military police,etc)? My wife is a photographer for the Army (us) and It seems that you and my wife take some of the same types of photos. She just got back from Kosovo. She has also been to Iraq twice. All of her photos tell a story, and it's absolutely amazing to see different perspectives, especially to people who don't know what it's like.

jonesmrjones1 karma

Hi, no worries.

Currently I am a press phot. I used to be in the Royal Signals as a Radio Operator.

Nice one. Have you got any links to her work. I would like to check it out.

Sanityisoverrated14 karma

[deleted]

jonesmrjones7 karma

Easy now!

I still take photos as a Hobby. I love taking photos and doing it for a loving has not taken the buzz out of it.

DomoV4 karma

How does your job work, do you get attached to a unit then follow them around and take pics as you come across them or go to an ex and wear a high vis and wander around or something?

jonesmrjones2 karma

I work out of a press office and I get tasked with certain jobs and I go out and cover them.

jordym983 karma

Were you ever so intensely terrified that you accidentally broke your camera?

jonesmrjones9 karma

I've broken my Nikon D4 before. Not through terror but falling over in a stream and immersing it in water.

Lolotov3 karma

Is there a large community of photographers within the army?

Out of personal interest, does your line of work offer anything for reservists or even courses for that matter? I met a few army PR people in 2014 in Cyprus when I was on exercise and it looked really interesting!

jonesmrjones3 karma

There are only 37 of us in the whole army.

There used to be a reserve element to us but that got disbanded.

allykibo3 karma

whats your favourite photo you have taken?

jonesmrjones3 karma

Military probably this one- http://goo.gl/S8LHm0

Personally this one- http://goo.gl/xqEGYp

wlklpedla3 karma

First of all, your photographs are stunning. I'm a student currently obtaining a degree in photojournalism and international relations and I have to ask, what is it you personally look for in photographs that constitutes a "good photograph"? And how do I get my foot wet in the industry when I'm a student with little to no experience?

jonesmrjones1 karma

Hi, Thankyou!

I just look at what is going on around me and capture it. I like to get to know the guys and gals before hand and build up a relationship. I do like to get involved in it a lot. You need to be pretty fit to keep up with everyone as they are doing their tasks while taking photos and trying to see whats going on around you.

Get out there and get a name for yourself. Get shooting and keep at it.

shxwn3 karma

Two questions:
1. How does rank affect the mood/type of shots?
2. How does it feel to be an active shooter in the military?

jonesmrjones2 karma

Some high ranking officers and SNCO's are miserable by nature so there is no helping them anyway! If I am posing someone I always tell them that this photo is going to portray them so its up to them to make an effort and let them self be seen in the best possible light.m

I love it, best job ever!

twodogsfighting3 karma

What is the fighting like in the midlands at the moment?

jonesmrjones2 karma

Non existent!

We cover all aspects of Military life.

GangstaCheezItz3 karma

Have you ever been threatened when taking a photo either by friendlies or those who are being pictured?

jonesmrjones2 karma

Nope.

I get the odd 'please dont take my picture' or 'no pictures' but never threatened.

jamie9803 karma

What made you want to do this?

jonesmrjones3 karma

The love of taking photos and to travel the world!

Zygersaf3 karma

Hi there! I have a friend that wants to become a Photographer for the Royal Air Force. I was wondering, how did you end up doing it for the army? Do you just apply for the role, or did you have another role first and then moved to it? Thanks.

jonesmrjones1 karma

I was in the Signals first and applied to transfer.

TimmyMcTittyTwist3 karma

What is the most powerful (emotionally) picture you have taken?

jonesmrjones12 karma

Probably this one-

http://goo.gl/tNr88w

It was a homecoming of a unit from Afghanistan.

AcidUK2 karma

Love your work, clearly you're very skilled at making the soldiers feel comfortable to be able to get such shots, although that's not to diminish from your compositional and technical skills too!

Are there any photos you've taken and haven't felt comfortable sharing/processing? Can you tell us the story if so?

jonesmrjones2 karma

Thanks. I like to think of myself as a professional, laid back approachable individual and people get on well with that.

Nothing really. All our work goes through a picture desk.

CantFly2 karma

Hello Mr Jones!

I've seen many of your photos before and I must say you're extremely talented, I believe I spotted you this year during the Cambrian Patrol.

Do you often see troops using go pros or other action cams in the field/on exercise? If you do what would you recommend in terms of mounting options?

Also we would love to have you visit the artillery grounds on Whiteladies at some point, I know a lot of officer cadets who would enjoy some face time with you in our mess!

jonesmrjones2 karma

Hi!

Thankyou. Yeh I was at Cambrian patrol last year.

Yeh that seems to be a thing now. Best bet is get a proper NVG mount for them and get it on the helmet. Its like a proper POV then. Also maybe consider a chest mount.

If you send a message to our facebook group and ask for Tim I will get back to you on there https://www.facebook.com/BritishArmyPhotographers/

Cheekysascha2 karma

I was curious what camera's and lenses you use? I read that you use a D4 but what else? hope it's alright for me to ask this question :)

jonesmrjones2 karma

We get issued a D4, D800, 24-70, 14-24 and 70-200 with 3 SB900's and a load of other gear.

chasealex22 karma

Which theatres have you deployed to?

jonesmrjones2 karma

On operations to Iraq and Afghanistan

stument2 karma

Evening! I'm joining as a REME Armorer in 6 weeks with the intention at some point along the line becoming a Photographer in the Army, Is it still easy to TX to Photographer?

I'm really into my photography at present feel free to see my work - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stument/

jonesmrjones2 karma

Hey!

Good luck with your training!

There are a few basic requirements before being considered for transferring. You have to be a LCpl with a recommendation for Cpl. You also need to be fully fit to deploy.

I'll have a look at your feed.

TimmyMcTittyTwist1 karma

See you in the REME, Starting in September.

jonesmrjones3 karma

If you come across any of us come say hi!

Just dont introduce yourself as TimmyMctittyTwist!

TimmyMcTittyTwist2 karma

Sure will.

Yeah I don't think I will be taken seriously...

jonesmrjones5 karma

Well if you ever see me and introduce yourself as that I will know the score!

thegreatdapperwalrus2 karma

Which nations have you been to?

jonesmrjones2 karma

For work-

Iraq, Afghan, Oman, Cyprus, Brunei, Germany, Croatia, France, Austria, Gibraltar off the top of my head.

TournerLaPage2 karma

ever been to alaska?

jonesmrjones3 karma

Nope never been there.

TournerLaPage1 karma

missing out if your a photo fella, gorgeous place, just avoid petersburg, they're dicks.

jonesmrjones10 karma

Not much work out there for the British Army!

Would like to go out there anyway!

ForgotDamnPassword2 karma

How many pictures of squaddies in pubs have you taken? The best picture I have of my father is him passed out in a German bar in the 1980's..

jonesmrjones5 karma

Hahaha

None for work purposes but a few otherwise.

Skull-Demon2 karma

That's a actual job? How did I not knew this?

jonesmrjones2 karma

Yep, only 37 of us in the whole army!

Skull-Demon2 karma

You serious?? That's small!

jonesmrjones1 karma

Yep. One of the smallest trades in the Army

britboy43212 karma

If you were at war and told that you and 6 other guys were going to charge an enemy machine gun post -- would you be clicking your camera or shooting your rifle as you charged forward?

jonesmrjones3 karma

That would be a hard one! Not sure what I would do until it happened!

Check out this video though for something that happened just like that- https://www.facebook.com/BritishArmyPhotographers/videos/1293660123982678/

AsianWarrior242 karma

I got a couple of questions. 1. What are the requirements to being a British Army Photographer? 2. What are your best experiences of being a British Army Photographer? It must be quite an adventure to be a British Army Photographer.

jonesmrjones1 karma

You need to be a LCpl with a recommendation to Cpl.

Brunei was the best experience so far I think.

It sure is. I am away on a lot of different jobs and every day is different. It is one great adventure!

ElCidTx2 karma

What other military photographers do you follow? Russell Klika by chance?

jonesmrjones1 karma

None to be honest

TheNimbrod1 karma

On a scale 1-10 how bad was the most horrorble scene you had to photograph?

jonesmrjones1 karma

Never really had to photograph anything like that.

Gnostic_Mind1 karma

Do you like monkeys? Ignore my question, but if I didn't post it the bots would have deleted my post. :)

I use to do a similar job for the U.S. Navy. Just wanted to say hello. :)

P.M. me if you use FB and I'll get you into a U.S. based group for military photog's.

jonesmrjones1 karma

Hi from across the pond!

It would be good to get involved in other nations.

Fineus1 karma

Hey, I'm a bit late to the party but hope that's okay!

We've actually worked alongside each other at Nozstock - I thought I recognized your name from your website - hope you're doing well :)

A couple of questions if you don't mind...

  • Like others, I'm interested to know how you got in to the job in the first place? Did the military service come first, or the photography? Or both?

  • Similarly - quite a contrast going from military photography to music festivals - is that a personal passion? How'd you wind up at Nozstock?

All the best!

jonesmrjones2 karma

Hey!

Groovy man. I've covered Nozstock for the last 5 years, not sure if I will be back there this time though!

I was in the Army first in the Signals and then transferred to the RLC Phot trade.

I started off in clubs taking photos and it went on from there. I wanted more and having the chance to do it in the Army was a great way to do it!

Manftastic1 karma

Do you often think what happened to soldiers and inocent people that you once took pictures of? Or have the faces and stories vanished through time?

jonesmrjones1 karma

Never really thought of that to be honest.

only_nathan1 karma

Sorry for the length, just trying to seek help. Recently graduated with a PhotoJ degree and with the way news is going I just up and left. Moved out west to denver and got a desk job. Hate everything about it but starting to feel like Edward Norton at the beginning of Fight Club. I want to get back to my roots of a photographer and always dreamt of being a conflict and crisis photog. I just can't seem to shoot anymore because it's hard ever thinking you're going to make it. Do you have any helpful advise for a guy who wants to shoot again but just needs to get away from everything he's put himself around? Cheers

jonesmrjones1 karma

Just get out there and do it! Follow your dreams and keep at it.

BFG_90001 karma

Is your boss ok with you using photos taken at work on your personal site?

jonesmrjones7 karma

All our work is crown copyright and as long as it is stated that it is they are happy with it.

We like to promote ourselves as a trade and its a good way to reach a different audience through our personal sites.

sunak_shah12341 karma

1) Is the West Midlands and Wales the only places you've served as a British Army photographer? If not, where else and where has been your favorite place?

2) What picture are you most proud of/is your favorite that you've shot?

3) What's the best story you have of trying to get a photo - either a success or a failure?

jonesmrjones1 karma

I was in a training post before West Mids and that was amazing. All posts are different and you get to do all kinds of things. This is my second post as a photographer.

murder_avocados1 karma

Do you have any daguerreotypes that you took in Crimea?

jonesmrjones1 karma

Nope.

DocWiggles1 karma

Do you ever send copies or links to the loved ones of your subjects? If so, do you have any good responses? Thanks

jonesmrjones2 karma

If they ask for them I will. People usually love that!

Enragedocelot1 karma

favorite cereal?

jonesmrjones2 karma

Porridge.

JD_Hacksaw1 karma

Will you be photographing the Bisley shooting competitions this summer?

jonesmrjones1 karma

I personally wont be but another photographer will be there. There are only 37 of us.

homer232981 karma

Hello! I'm currently undergoing officer selection for the Army and I was curious as to what the policy is for soldiers other than photographers taking photos, is this allowed in the British Army? Obviously OPSEC permitting.

jonesmrjones1 karma

It all depends on the unit you are at

newreddit20161 karma

Do you have a catchphrase of "Don't panic" or do people mention that around you?

jonesmrjones1 karma

Haha. No. Dont think anyone as actually ever said that to me!

-JarlBallin-1 karma

Firstly, thank you for your service, I have massive respect for you guys. If you hadn't been a photographer, what other role within the army would you have liked?

jonesmrjones5 karma

No worries.

I used to be in the Royal Signals as a Radio Operator.

I wouldn't want to be anything else now in the Army.

-JarlBallin-4 karma

Thanks, must sound weird when you say you shoot your comrades every day :)

jonesmrjones2 karma

It does sound a bit weird!

Silverlight42-4 karma

What knife would you say is your favourite?

Also, what other hobbies do you enjoy in your off-time?

jonesmrjones3 karma

I dont carry a knife to be honest as its not exactly legal in the UK. I do have a few though that I use for different tasks. A Kukri for odd jobs and sometime cooking I also still have a Opinal from when I was in the scouts.

I still enjoy photography in my off time as well.

Silverlight42-7 karma

Ah, right, the UK.... not the most knife friendly place in the world. I'm in Canada, and glad we have somewhat lax knife laws for the most part.

khukuris are one of my faves, this is mine. at 18" I couldn't imagine using it for cooking, i've only ever used it to chop trees and clear brush.

And yeah, the Opinel knife is decent, very basic, but still respected. I have one too. I don't use it much though.

jonesmrjones2 karma

Nope. There is still a lot of knife crime as well!

Kukris are handy blades. I have only just gotten one.

Ive not used my Opinel in a while either.