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Stacy Pearsall    

Photographer & Educator.

Stacy L. Pearsall got her start as an Air Force photographer at the age of 17. During her time in the service, she traveled to over 41 countries, and attended the Military Photojournalism Program at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. During three combat tours, she earned the Bronze Star Medal and Air Force Commendation with Valor for heroic actions under fire. Combat disabled and retired from military service, Pearsall continues to work worldwide as a freelance photographer, and is an author, educator, military consultant, public speaker and founder of the Veterans Portrait Project.

Pearsall was one of only two women to win NPPA's Military Photographer of the Year competition, and the only woman to have earned it twice. She's been awarded the Trojan Labor American Hero Award, honored with the Daughters of the American Revolution Margaret Cochran Corbin Award, lauded by the White House as a Champion of Change, and holds an honorary doctoral degree from The Citadel.

Following military service, Pearsall purchased the Charleston Center for Photography (CCP). She grew the once grass roots photo club into a reputable brand for photography education, studio rentals, fine art print labs and gallery under one roof. As CCP grew, so did her personal endeavors with the Veterans Portrait Project. In order to pursue her personal project full time, Pearsall sold CPP in the fall of 2012.

The Veterans Portrait Project (VPP) began in 2008 while Pearsall rehabilitated from combat injuries sustained in Iraq. Spending hours in VA waiting rooms surrounded by veterans from every generation and branch of service, Pearsall was compelled to honor and thank them in the only way she knows how, photography. She’s traveled to over 40 cities with the VPP and has documented over 3,000 veterans thus far. Several regionally based exhibitions are on display showcasing veterans from their respective hometowns. Pearsall continues to photograph and document veterans’ stories at veteran conventions, community events and private sessions nationwide.

Between her photography, teaching and speaking engagements, Pearsall completed her first photography book, Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera, which received worldwide praise as "A book of the highest levels in the annals of combat journalism." And her second book, A Photojournalist's Field Guide: In the Trenches with Combat Photographer Stacy Pearsall, is "A must have for every aspiring photographer out there, and even pros can pick up a few new tricks to help them become better photographers."

Speech Topics


Combat from Behind the Camera

Stacy Pearsall has spent nearly half her life as a military photographer and has earned some of the highest military medals for her heroism on the battlefield. Not only does she have brawn, she has real talent. She is one of only two women to win the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Military Photographer of the Year competition, and the only woman who has earned it twice. Whether you know it or not, you may have seen her work in Time magazine, the New York Times, and USA Today as well as on CNN, the BBC, and PBS to name a few.

Pearsall’s empowering speech draws upon the hardships she faced as a woman and photographer in combat. She’s documented some of the most dangerous battles of our time, has been wounded in combat and lived to tell her story. Hers is an amazing visual journey of personal and photographic growth. Not only do the images tell the story of the soldiers she documented, but also her own tale of friendships she made and tragically lost.

You’ll see what combat is like from behind the camera. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. Most of all, you’ll be in awe.

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