Military Photographer of the Year
Dana Beesley has been awarded MVA Photographer of the Year for her portfolio of images captured throughout 2020.
More than 2,000 images were submitted by photographers from around the world and Dana’s came out on top.
“It’s such an incredible honor,” Beesley said. “A big part of the credit goes to my mentors, Marines and leaders who taught me and helped shape my eye as a storyteller. It’s because of them that I have gotten to where I am today, and I have them to thank and applaud. I am lucky to have been taught and inspired by so many incredible photographers in this community.”
She is a passionate storyteller and leader working on her 6th year of content creation. She currently leads a 16-marine team that specializes in all areas of public communication and digital engagement at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.
Dana enjoys telling behind-the-scenes stories about individuals who would not normally receive coverage and prides herself on her ability to cover the backgrounds of people from all walks of life.
“I love being able to meet and to tell the stories of our service members. The men and women in the military come from all different backgrounds and walks of life. The ultimate job satisfaction for me comes from showing someone how impactful they are to this institution because of their unique story, or hearing that family members and friends have reached out and connected with them after we publish their story. It’s the service members who work behind the scenes who never get recognized for their hard work, passion and dedication who I want to highlight most.”
After graduating high school at Lewiston Senior High School, she began her studies at the University of Idaho. During her time there, she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and shipped off to recruit training.
In 2018, Beesley graduated from the Military Photojournalism Program at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Syracuse New York. While attending the school she was inspired by her favorite photographer.
“I admire Greg Heisler, not only because I was lucky enough to be taught by him at Syracuse University, but because he puts all of his energy towards the people whose photos he creates. He is painstaking in his editing process because he respects every single one of his clients as if they were his own family, and I admire how he is able to tell a story with one single photograph. He is one of the most genuine and passionate people, let alone photographers, I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet and I’m humbled that I got to be taught by him.”
“I also admire photographers like Catherine Leroy, who not only risked her own life to document the Vietnam war, but handled her responsibilities to her work, plus her duties in the field, as any service member would – traveling the same distance alongside the troops under load. To me, that is inspirational and prolific.”
Dana continues her photographic journey in the Marine Corps and hopes to continually improve upon her passion.
“I love environmental portraits because I want to challenge myself to tell a service member’s story with one photograph. If I can capture the essence of who they are in a single frame, I can hopefully persuade viewers to take a second and read their story in its integrity.”