Garrison Imaging Petawawa’s Imagery Technicians’ main role is capturing military history. Their shop is located at P-106. From left are Transfer from Ottawa Corporal Guy Boudreault, Trainee Airwoman Sylviane St-Cyr, Imaging Section Supervisor Sergeant Maggie Gosse, Trainee Corporal David Veldman, and Trainee Private Thomas Lee. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Behind the lens: Garrison Imaging Petawawa

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017

Garrison Imaging Petawawa does more than take passport pictures and official portraits of Garrison Petawawa personnel.

Imagery Technicians, known as Photo or Image Techs, also capture history as it happens. They are on the ground taking snapshots of military life. “Years down the road people will be able to pull up one of our images and see what it was like,” said Sergeant Maggie Gosse, Imaging Section Supervisor.

Any time a photographer is needed, they are called upon and often find themselves in the midst of the action. Special events, unit parades, presentations and official media shots are just a tiny slice of what they are called to cover on a daily basis. In wartime and exercises, Photo Techs are there, side by side with their peers in uniform. Each photo they take also involves post-production work, editing, resizing and adding cutlines so that they may forever be searchable in the archives in Ottawa as well as in Petawawa. The imaging crew is also in charge of everything related to photography, whether that’s printing images supplied by the client, creating posters, restoring old photographs or scanning prints to digitize them.

It is a very busy job and the hours are not clear-cut. Sgt Gosse always carries a duty phone for emergencies and though rare, it isn’t uncommon for her to be roused from home to take pictures of fires, military police investigations or any other time-sensitive issue. Currently, she is also the only official Photo Tech in-house, though she does have help from a few trainees and a temporary transfer from Ottawa. “Normally, this shop contains a Sergeant, a Master Corporal, and a Corporal, but we are really low and we are just waiting to have those roles filled,” said Sgt Gosse. “We are supporting like we have a full section, but we are not - far from it. But we do our best.” The section should be filled once more in February.

Despite the time crunch they are often under, the staff still tirelessly supports Garrison Petawawa. If feasible, they will move the schedule around to take necessary photos and often work during evenings, weekends as well as some very early mornings. “We always strive to support requests within our capability,” said Sgt Gosse.

It may involve long hours, but being a Photo Tech is still an enjoyable trade, she added. It isn’t the type of job for someone who needs constant guidance. Most of the day, the photo techs actually work alone without supervision. Before leaving the office, the objective is identified then expectations are set and are matched or surpassed. It is an important role that people aren’t always aware of. “We are the ones who are documenting history,” said Sgt Gosse. “It’s been done for years. Since the military started. If there is a military presence, there is an Image Tech.”