Sergeant Steve Blake is a professional Army Photographer with the Royal Logistic Corps. A trained soldier, Steve has recently returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan as part of the three-man Combat Camera Team (comprising a trained journalist, photographer and video cameraman).
5 July 2012
Exercise Wessex Thunder
The last couple of weeks here at the Army Headquarters in Andover have been exceptionally busy. Another interesting story I covered was the Royal Army of Oman on exercise with 2nd Battalion ‘The Parachute Regiment’ on Salisbury Plain. The Omani Western Frontier Regiment had spent two weeks on exercise with 2 Para, which concluded at the Military training village of Copehill Down.
11 June 2012
London shoot for Salisbury Plain military wives
Steve has been in London photographing the Salisbury Plain Military Wives choir as they entertain MPs at the House of Commons and Portcullis House, “After a tour of The House of Commons, the choir got to sit in the gallery and watch a debate. Claire told us later on, that Mr Speaker commented on how they were the most glamorous spectators he has ever had in his gallery.”
4 March 2012
Post-op tour leave (POTL)
Steve has arrived back from Afghanistan, following his six-month tour: Using china plates, metal cutlery and being able to wear clothes other than MTP were novel changes for me!
The Afghanistan blogs
Steve, on his third trip to Afghanistan in 18 months, and the team were based at Camp Bastion in Helmand province but spent most of their time out on the ground, capturing life on the front line during Operation Herrick 15, October 2011-April 2012.
28 March 2012
Wherever you are – my last Afghan post
Sgt Steve Blake has spent six months in Afghanistan, capturing life on the front line with his camera. He has compiled a photographic record of his time and set it to the music of the Military Wives Choir: “The theme was set to ‘Wherever You Are’, but from a personal perspective, hoping to give people a realistic insight into life in Afghanistan and places where their loved ones could well be working or living.”
9 March 2012
One last trip around the bazaars
It’s always hard trying to explain to people back in the UK what Afghanistan is like, but when you are here, you take what you see as normality, as you are living amongst it. The bazaar had a mobile phone shop, a pharmacy, fruit and veg shop and a mechanics workshop, of sorts.
17 February 2012
Operation Horhari Afghan through a lens
“With me originally packed for Op KZ, the last minute call for Op Horhari Afghan coverage didn’t cause a problem. With the weather here still hitting the minus degrees at night, this Op, in the middle of nowhere was no doubt going to be a cold one.”
3 February 2012
First drink on leave – peppermint tea!
“Yep, on January 17th we had Christmas in our house. Seemed so weird, but so nice that my wife had organised this for me. Wine, turkey, presents, more wine and maybe a bit more wine. The weirdest thing about it all was using real cutlery, plates and glasses as opposed to paper and plastic in Afghan.”
12 January 2012
Afghan and British flying machines
“The pilots, ground crew and engineers do a round-the-clock job, in order to keep our aircraft moving, which in turn keeps our troops operating, our mail getting through and our vital supplies getting to the front line.”
26 December 2011
Chai with the Royals before Secret Santa arrives
Following the Christmas rush photographer Sergeant Steve Blake wrote about the run-up to festivities, including visits by a royal couple, CGS and Father Christmas: “With several multi national forces in attendance, the night went well. We had a choir from the US forces sing to us, as well as the Tongan Marines serenade us with a Christmas Carol sung in their native tongue.”
24 December 2011
Merry Christmas from Afghanistan
Steve is one of thousands of British personnel working on Christmas Day across Helmand province: “Whatever happens here tomorrow, wherever they are, everyone will be thankful of one thing: The fact they are a day closer to getting home to their loved ones.”
7 December 2011
ISAF slaves and naughty locals
Steve has been capturing the teamwork of British and Danish Engineers working together in Helmand: “What can I say, brilliant blokes, with a massive English vocabulary, and even a good Squaddie sense of humour to go with it. They were an awesome bunch of guys.”
30 November 2011
Spaghetti and morale
Steve has had a mixed bag of jobs this week including MPs visiting from the UK and capturing the morale-boosting qualities of a CSE show, complete with comedians and dancing girls, all topped off with a beautiful Afghan sunset .
15 November 2011
We will remember them
The harsh realities of War have been felt by all in Helmand this week (Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday), as well as across the globe, as Steve and the team capture the spirit of soldiers during remembrance ceremonies.
9 November 2011
Wahid and Braknal: Life through a lens
Steve and the other Combat Camera Team members have been getting out on the ground visiting patrol bases occupied by Estonian troops. The Estonians are providing cover for Royal Engineers who have been repairing a culvert to help improve the lives of local people around Check Point Breknal.
4 November 2011
Shawqat: Life through a lens
In Steve’s second blog from Helmand province he tells us how the troops honour a fallen comrade and how quickly plans can change, as they go out on a routine patrol to meet and photograph the locals.
25 October 2011
Helmand: Life through a lens
In Steve’s first blog from Camp Bastion, he introduces us to the Herrick 15 Combat Camera Team and the resident camp cat. Steve has trained hard for this deployment and is looking forward to a busy time ahead.