PRISTINA, Kosovo — U.S. soldiers with the 11th Public Affairs Detachment used their knowledge of the Army’s newly-issued camera equipment to conduct a “knowledge exchange” session with photographers from the Kosovo Security Force in Kosovo’s capital city Friday.
Using the photographers’ cameras as visual aids, Sgt. Cody Barber, a print journalist with the 11th, went through many of the camera’s basic functions and shooting modes — a skill set he himself just learned, after taking pictures with a Nikon camera system for more than four years.
“I have never had the opportunity to teach foreign soldiers in my military career, but being able to share my knowledge and techniques on how I shoot photos with the (Kosovo Security Force) was a unique and rewarding experience,” Barber said. “It’s something some public affairs specialists in my career field will never get to experience, and it’s something I can take back with me from this deployment.”
Experience levels among the four Kosovo Security Force members varied, and two of them were already working toward master’s degrees in journalism. One member was even trained in broadcasting, and had rarely used a still camera for his daily work. The Kosovo force members all work for the ministry’s Public Relations Department writing news releases and taking photos of key events.
One of the students said he could already see the difference in his photo-taking abilities after the four-hour class.
“I can see the difference in the work I’ve been doing and have been taught, and I know today’s training will help us out a lot,” said Sgt. Kosum Kosumi, a public affairs specialist in the Land Forces Command. “In the future, if there’s a training exercise, a visit or a meeting, it will be good to know what pictures we should take.”
The members said working in the public affairs field provided many opportunities to meet new people and even be involved with important events.
Cpl. Bashkim Mustafa, another public affairs specialist in the Land Forces Command, said, “I like my job because I have to deal with different people, and in a way, we are involved in all the training and activities that Kosovo Security Forces does. When we are involved, we hear and see everything.”
The Kosovo Security Force was declared fully operationally capable on July 9 by the North Atlantic Council and primarily conducts nonmilitary security functions like search-and-rescue operations, explosive ordnance disposal, firefighting and other humanitarian assistance tasks.
The 11th Public Affairs Detachment pledged to work with the Kosovo photographers on a monthly basis in the future to develop in-depth skills in manual photography and editing.