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NHHC Recognizing 100 Years of Navy Photographers


Lt. Walter Richardson
Lt. Walter Richardson

By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford,
Naval History and Heritage Command Communication Outreach Division

In recognition of one man’s commitment to the Navy and photography, Naval History and Heritage Command will celebrate 100 years of naval photographers. To commemorate the centennial, NHHC is planning to share photographs to our Facebook site from each year since 1914.

One hundred years have passed since the first Sailor was designated to document important Navy events around the world. Walter Leroy Richardson, who joined the Navy in 1911 as a ship’s cook, had been taking photographs for the USS Mississippi and the crew. The ship dropped anchor at former Naval Shipyard Pensacola Jan. 20, 1914, to survey the land for a future Naval Aeronautical Station; Richardson, on his off-duty time, was there taking pictures. Because of his competency behind the lens, Richardson was soon transferred to a shore command where he was expected to use his talent full-time as the navy’s first official photographer.

This is where audience participation will make this year-long commemoration all the more memorable. If you are Sailor — or were a Sailor — acting in an official capacity as a photographer for the Navy when an image was shot, NHHC wants to see it!  While every Sailor who takes a photo is technically a Navy photographer, the purpose of the commemoration is to recognize professionals specifically charged by the Navy during the past 100 years to visually document our story.

Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout 2014, NHHC’s social media team will share a photo from each year of the centennial.  Act quickly – we’re kicking it off beginning Jan. 14. With your help we’ll add between one and eight images to the album.

NHHC is looking for photos that are easily relatable to today’s Navy and Sailors –it’s on you to show us why. They should be well-composed, compelling, impactful, and ultimately help tell a story about our Navy. Photos must be digital (either scanned from photograph / negative or inherently digital), be of high quality and can only be submitted by the Sailor or veteran. By submitting the image, senders permit full use of the image by NHHC should we select them for sharing.

Please email digital images to USNHistory@gmail.com with complete captions describing:

  •       The scene
  •         Names of individuals depicted
  •         Date and location where the photo was shot
  •         Full name and rank of the photographer
  •         Your own contact information should there be any questions.

If certain information is not known, please note “unknown.” Though we appreciate all submissions, we are seeking to share as much contextual information as possible. Please keep that in mind as you submit imagery. 

We can’t wait to see what you submit, and thanks for using the lense of history to better understand our Navy today.