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Woman wins a first in Army photo contest
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Winners of  the 2012 Army Digital Photography Contest were recently announced. Among them is Fort Stewart spouse Laura Bland, proprietor of Laura Leandra Photography.  
The Swiss-born photographer took first place in the Division II animals category in the competition with a photo of orange fish swimming toward a single area at what appears to be feeding time.
The image freezes a moment in time as the fish clamber around each other with their mouths open and the water rippling around them. She captured the image in a park area in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, while there shooting another assignment.
“She captured that actually while doing another photo shoot of a couple. She just happened to capture that. It was like one of those spontaneous things, like ‘Oh cool, look,’” said her husband, 546 Military Police Company Sgt. Frank Bland, who spoke on behalf of his wife and her business.
He said he encouraged her to enter the contest because many of her clients are military affiliated.
“She began studying art in Zurich, Switzerland. She’s a Swiss native, and once she moved to Hawaii, that’s when she put together her own company, and that’s where she began concentrating more on digital photography instead of just art,” he said.
“You know, she excelled, so she expanded that to creating websites, working with artists, sports teams, various functions for military events, and she’s pretty much set where she’s at as far as her clientele,” he said.
Her subject matter varies, but she enjoys combining both portrait and artistic styles.
“She’ll take a family photo and add an artistic touch to it. She likes to stand out; one of her mottos is she likes to give a person more than they ask for,” he said.
When asked if his wife is available for photography projects, Bland said the couple soon will relocate to Fort Bragg, N.C. She plans to enter more pieces in future competitions, though.
Contest judge Rudy Lopez, who manages the Arts and Crafts Center at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas, said in an interview with Installation Management Command that judging the contest each year is an inspirational endeavor.
“Participating artists have once again proved that photography goes beyond the mere point-and-shoot ideology, proving that this is, in fact, an art,” Lopez said. “Capturing particular moments in time — from world travels to emotionally personal aspects of both military and everyday life — these entries were true-life stories frozen in time.”
Other competition categories included people, military life, nature and  landscapes, still life, design elements, digital darkrooms and monochrome. Division I, open to active-duty soldiers, did not include any winners from Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield.

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