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Shane Strassberg: U.S. Marine Connects Through Photography
Shane Strassberg, class of 2003, is an up and coming photographer whose work portrays his world as a college graduate, a U.S. Marine, and a citizen. Through two tours of active duty, he has documented his time overseas and at home, creating lasting memories and thought-provoking images.

Shane became interested in photography while taking a class his senior year with Richard Barnet, Associate Professor of Humanities/Fine Arts. As the class progressed, Shane’s enthusiasm for the art form grew. “Photography became a way to give the mundane and often overlooked aspects of everyday life their own emotion.”

Shane joined the Marines October 27, 2003. He was deployed to Okinawa in July 2004, and then traveled to Kuwait by sea in August to September. He was sent to Camp Fallujah where his unit prepared for the Battle of Fallujah, also known as Operation Phantom Fury. After two and one half months of non-stop fighting, they were pulled out of Fallujah and sent to a town called Baghdadi to provide security for Iraq’s first democratic elections. He was stationed at Al-Asad Airbase, the largest U.S. military airbase in the largely Sunni western Iraq province of Al Anbar.

Shane’s second tour, from March to September 2006, was more of a peace-keeping mission where he assisted the Iraqi Army in helping recruit their police force, screening men for health, literacy, and prior criminal or terrorist records. While on foot patrol, he ran vehicle checkpoints and attempted to build relationships and gain the trust of the people.

“My time in the Marines changed me forever. Joining the enlisted side rather than the officer side as a college graduate, it already sets you apart from your peers, and then you are set apart from the rest of society as you become immersed in Marine culture. It’s like being pulled from both ends.”

Shane describes his work as a paradox with different layers of meaning. “I often feel disconnected with the nuances of society, and my photographs are a way to bridge that gap and connect with people I don’t even know,” said Shane. He is hosting a photo exhibit at the Mount entitled, “From the Other Side” in the Elizabeth Seton Library. The exhibit is being held through December to showcase his photographs from student to Marine to professional photographer.
 
Today, Shane is involved in a number of different projects. He is working on his photography website called www.shootshane.com. “I think it’s a fun title that will make people curious when they see it on my business card.” He is also working at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, NY as a photographer in their Broadcast Department. He photographs the races and the winning horses in the winner’s circle with the owners. He is being trained on their video equipment which “brings me back to my days as a communication major at the Mount.”