Trailblazers: Powerful Women of Photography the Stacy Pearsall Interview By Stacy Pearsall and Mia McCormick

1 hr 7 min
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Join our own Mia McCormick as she sits down with Stacy and delves into topics that range from how Stacy got started in photography after joining the Air Force at age 17 to the obstacles she had to overcome as a female airman in combat situations, and from what it takes to make tough choices in chaotic situations to the process of transitioning to civilian life after being combat disabled and retired from military service.

This interview kicks off our Trailblazer interview series on powerful women in photography; women who have the courage to tell stories about complicated issues, often under extreme and dangerous situations, and who are among the first female professionals to excel in their chosen discipline of photography.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Serving in the military is a family tradition for Stacy, but when it came time to choose an occupation within the military Stacy knew she wanted to do something creative, but it was photography that chose her.
Being Air Force among Army, a woman among men, and being a photographer among people who didn't want to be documented was the trifecta of challenges to overcome when starting out as a combat photographer.
As a combat photographer you are sometimes forced to make tough choices in extremely chaotic, dangerous, and stressful situations. It can be really tough to keep putting the mission first in the face of huge loss.
From the gear to pushing through the pain of injury, Stacy shares some of her thinking about what being a combat photographer means to her.
The journey from a medical retirement to civilian life is challenging for all veterans in different ways. While in rehab for her injuries Stacy found that her photography offered her a new opportunity for healing, growth, and fulfillment.
Profile photo of Stacy Pearsall

Meet your instructors

Stacy Pearsall


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 For...

Stacy's Courses

Profile photo of Mia McCormick


Mia McCormick works as a resident video technology expert for KelbyOne and B&H Photo. She's a KelbyOne Instructor with courses ranging from basic camera operation to capturing outstanding video on your DSLR. Mia also conducts a series of business and inspirational interviews providing insights from some of the world's leading photog...

Mia's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Sandy Hansen Sandy Hansen

    Stacy thank you for sharing your story!! I would love to work with you volunteering taking photo’s of our Veterans! I volunteer to take photos of Veterans that go on the Honor flight to DC.

  2. Profile photo of

    Excellent interview Mia. Stacy, thank you so much for your service and everything you are doing for our Veterans.
    Greg Dominguez, USAF Retired

  3. Profile photo of snuffy snuffy

    Thank you for everything you have done Stacy! You are an inspiration to an old Vietnam Vet. With people like you maybe there’s hope.

  4. Profile photo of spyglassphoto spyglassphoto

    I’ve been following Stacy’s advice and lessons on photojournalism for years, and they have never let me down.

  5. Profile photo of

    I think this should be posted on YouTube and free for everyone to see. It is too important to hide behind a pay wall. Mia did an amazing job with this.

  6. Profile photo of Katie Katie

    Incredibly moving. Wow. Just wow. I cannot even express how this interview has made me feel. Thank you, Mia for doing this. Thank you, Stacy for your service and for sharing your inspirational stories.

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