Air Force Staff Sgt. James Richardson, Jr. was named Military Photographer of the Year and Marine Corps Sgt. Isaac Ibarra named Military Videographer of the Year in the 2016 Defense Media Activity Awards. Both winners were guests at the The White House News Photographers Association 2017 Eyes of History Awards Gala in June.
Staff Sgt. Richardson is assigned to the 673rd Airbase Wing Public Affairs on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. He documents operations for the 673d Air Base Wing, 3rd Wing, Alaska National Guard and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.Sgt. Ibarra is stationed with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group in Okinawa, Japan where he covers assignments throughout Asia, including humanitarian missions.
The military awards operated under a new format this year. The Military Photographer of the Year is now one of the awards in the Defense Media Activity Awards rather than a separate competition. The preliminary rounds were judged by military representatives and the final winners by outside judges.
The judges for the photography entries were; Walter Calahan, an independent photographer based in Maryland, John Rowe, an independent photographer based in California who has worked extensively India, Burma and Ethiopia and frequently works in Cuba and Master Sergeant Lance Cheung (Ret.) who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. who also had a 24-year career in the United States Air Force.
The video competition judges were: Pat Bourque, is Baltimore-based photographer, videographer and editor, John Gonzalez, a general assignment reporter with ABC7/WJLA-TV and Manny Fantis, the digital and national news director for Sinclair Broadcast Group.