Erin Kirk BFA '06 (Photography)

Route Michigan, Ramadi, Iraq, 2008

Route Michigan, Ramadi, Iraq, 2008

Kirk is pictured during the opening of the region's main road
Female Security Force

Female Security Force

Kirk's photo of an Iraqi women training to become a member of the Sisters of Fallujah was featured in 'Time' magazine in May 2008
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Secretary of State John Kerry (left) sings 'Happy Birthday' to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sept. 14, 2012

Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sept. 14, 2012

The caskets of four diplomats killed in an attack in Benghazi, Libya, are escorted through an honor cordon during a dignified transfer ceremony
Great Hall of the People, China

Great Hall of the People, China

Kirk is pictured walking out of the Great Hall, Beijing's political hub (photo by Larry Downing/Reuters)
'New York Times' Cover Photo

'New York Times' Cover Photo

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is presented with a plate commemorating his visit to Beijing, China, in 2012
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Obama speaks during a memorial honoring the fallen Department of Defense victims from the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 2013

Erin Kirk '06 (Photography) was given her first camera before the age of 10 by her father and has never stopped taking pictures.

After graduating from the University of the Arts, she enlisted in the Marine Corps as a combat photographer, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Armed with her Nikon camera and a rifle and decked out in desert camouflage, Kirk was the only woman in Iraq in the Marine's Combat Camera unit.

After her tour of duty ended in October 2008, she became the personal photographer for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, the Corps' highest-ranking officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, working at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., until the end of her enlistment.

After leaving the Marine Corps, she was asked to be the lead photographer for former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, serving with him for two years. She continues to document the daily activity of the Department of Defense and its leadership with current Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Erin's work has been published on many websites and in newspapers and magazines, including Yahoo News, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun Times and the Omaha World Herald.

Through wars, traveling to more than 50 countries, covering powerful world leaders, and yes, even photographing a portrait for a friend, Erin has never forgotten that photography is art and that regardless of the setting, there is beauty, pain, tension and love in human interaction, but you have to capture it.