UK Weekly Q&A: The picture perfect Air Force career
Not only is Staff Sgt. Jeanette Copeland a photographer for the 100th Communication Squadron’s Multi-Media Center, the 28-year-old also is the noncommissioned officer in charge. Her photos are showcased often throughout the Air Force and are regular features inside RAF Mildenhall’s Marauder magazine.
So, you’re the head honcho [at the Multi-Media Center]?
Mmm … yeah.
What does that job entail?
Making sure the daily stuff goes on. Everybody’s tasked with different things.
What kind of tasks?
We have studio, location shoots, historical documentation and public affairs photography.
Studio work? Is that like department store photography?
We do the official DOD [Department of Defense] portraiture for special duty or promotions.
How did you get into photography?
I joined [the Air Force] at 17, and I picked it as my No. 1, because it was artsy. I always liked to draw and paint and all that, and I got it. Now, it’s one of my passions.
Before you take a photo for the Air Force, are you required to say “cheese?”
Do you like being in the Air Force?
Yeah, I like it. At the 10-year mark, you kind of [wonder] which way to go.
Are you going to be a lifer?
Might as well. Thirty-seven and retired, you can’t beat it. I think there’s no better benefits than what the military can give you.
What’s your favorite thing to cover when you go out on assignment?
I love covering stories from start to finish; it doesn’t matter what it is. I have to be on my toes the whole entire time; if not, I could miss that one emotional picture that I needed.
What’s your least favorite assignment?
Alert. You know, fights on base [or] autopsy type of stuff.
Do you consider yourself the best photographer in the Air Force?
Not even close. You can never know everything.