Serving Abroad...Through Their Eyes

In 2012, The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense recognized the 50th anniversary of the Office of Art in Embassies, through Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes, a collaborative photography project. Expectations were far exceeded with more than 3,200 photos submitted by active or former members of the U.S. military, Foreign Service and Civil Service, with images taken from overseas since 2000.

Project TypeArt Collaboration
A U.S. Army Soldier from the Task Force Regulars 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry gets a lift from an Iraqi boy and his mule on route Douglas in the Jameela Market area on May 31, 2008.

New York Times photographer Joao Silva convened a distinguished photo jury in April 2012, with finalists announced on Armed Forces Day, May 19, 2012.

The Best in Show honorees were announced in commemoration of Veteran’s Day, 2012. They were recognized in Washington D.C. in a special ceremony on November 30, 2012 by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Their images, along with other selected images from the Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes submissions have been crafted into video artwork by renowned artist Lincoln Schatz which was displayed at the Department of State main lobby on November 30, 2012. The 89 finalist photographer images have been made into an exhibition which have been on display at the Pentagon and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Future exhibition locations include the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and other prominent national and international locations.

Counting the Votes - Western Province - Kenya.

Best in Show Gallery

Album 1

A U.S. Army Soldier from the Task Force Regulars 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry gets a lift from an Iraqi boy and his mule on route Douglas in the Jameela Market area on May 31, 2008.20 February, 2006, Republic of the Philippines: Sergeant Chanller Arriano form the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment takes a moment to rest during a rainstorm as he and his team of Marines continue to dig and search for possible survivors at the Guinsaugon disaster site.  ..Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by LCpl Alvin Williams.(Released)Members of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing mourn the loss of U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason L. North and Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy, both members of the 3rd Security Forces Squadron, based at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, during a memorial service at a deployed location in Southwest Asia on Jan. 26, 2006. The two were killed when their vehicle struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) during Operation Iraqi Freedom on Jan. 22, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Strang) (Released) It shows service members grieving from the loss of two of their own.Avalance Baby - Private 1st Class Nichole Hill, medic with Task Force Workhorse, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Falcon, checks the vitals on a Afghan baby, Feb. 9 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The baby was a victims of an avalanche that occurred the previous evening north of Bagram. (Photo by Army Spc. Monica K. Smith, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, TF FALCON, Public Affairs Office)Winter pickup -  is in Zerok District waiting to for the order to exfil after the overwatch was complete. We spent the night on the mountainside overwatching the routeSpecialist Olson, 3rd Platoon, 573rd Clearance Company, 1st Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, covered in dirt and concrete, takes time to smile for the camera after working for several hours in the high heat of Iraq.  Olson, along with his fellow engineers, was denying access to culverts that ran underneath main supply routes.  In the process, Olson broke an expensive pair of sunglasses; this photo is his reaction..This is a close up of SPC Olson's face.008-An Iraqi child hides behind her father as U.S. Army Soldiers of the 278th Armored Cavalry  Regiment conduct a mission in her village May 17,2005This little girl lost most her family in the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami. The photo was taken by the ocean only a couple weeks after while this little girl was still looking towards the open water as if she was waiting for her mother and siblings to return. She looks like an amazing strong soul..Because I think its one of the most beautiful and expressive faces I have ever seen.Counting the Votes - Western Province - Kenya.A ramp ceremony honors eight fallen soldiers of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), held at Kandahar Airfield on October 28, 2009 as they are loaded onto a USAF C-17 Globemaster III destined for the unit's home in Fort Lewis, Washington. The soldiers were killed on October 27, 2009, in two separate improvised explosive device attacks in the Kandahar Region. (USAF Photo By Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II)(Released, Lt Col. John Bryan, AFPAA Public Affairs Officer, Pentagon)My family's apartment in Manila was located in Fort Bonafacio, quite close to the American Cemetery. One afternoon, when the light was perfect, I spent a couple of hours at the site, exploring it and taking pictures. The size and solemnity of the site was humbling and overwhelming. When I look at this photo, I experience anew the emotions I felt six years ago. The American Cemetery Philippines is the largest of World War II, with over 17,000 graves. It exemplifies loss -- but not pointless loss; rather, meaningful, purposeful loss in pursuit of an eventual triumphant cause.

In commemoration of Military Family Month, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE) arranged for the “Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes” photography exhibition to be featured on the Verizon Center’s video marquees.

All finalist and best in show images were display in 30-second spots beginning Veterans Day, November 11, and ending November 30, 2013.