Behind the Lens: Japanese-American woman takes off-beaten path to photography career at Robins

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs

You may have seen Misuzu Allen’s photos on Robins’ Facebook page or the base’s website, but do you know this woman behind the lens?

Her story is as unique as the ones her photos capture every day.

The Japanese-American came to the U.S in 1992, when her husband’s job brought him back to the states. A short time after earning her information technology degree and landing her Air Force career through the Palace Acquire Internship, Allen’s audiovisual career took off. 

Allen began working at the Museum of Aviation in 2005 as an information technology specialist.

In 2007, she started working in multimedia, and transitioned into public affairs later that year.

“Although I had an IT degree, I was moved to the position of multimedia specialist that required mostly managing graphics, video and photograph areas,” she said.  “At the beginning of my internship, I didn’t take photos. When I moved to PA, I was given the opportunity to learn photography.”

Allen fell in love with the camera.

She learned her trade on the coattails of fellow photographers, as well as using YouTube and several other internet sites to hone her skills.

“There are tons of photos and photographers out there to use as role models,” she said. “I use the data embedded in these photos to see different camera settings used to achieve certain effects. Nowadays, there are many how-to resources I can look into when it comes to challenging situations.”

Even her 5-foot-2-inch stature hasn’t stopped her from getting good shots of important ceremonies and other happenings around Robins.

“Sometimes, I wish I were taller so I could shoot a photo the way it needs to be captured,” she said. “But, I make do with what I’ve got, using a step stool or unique angles to help me get to the height I need.”

Allen counts herself fortunate to get to be part of people’s special moments.

“It is an honorable job to serve at people’s milestones and memorable occasions, such as Airmen promotions, awards and other recognitions,” she said.

Getting to express herself through her work is fulfilling.

“Sometimes I visualize what I want to take,” she said.  “When I can take photos that match what I imagined, it is a joy.  Plus, when I improvise and it produces a quality photo more than I can imagine, it’s the best feeling.”

Allen said she’s always thinking about her job and how she can do it better.

“All my work play into national security, after all,” she said. “I believe taking good photos raises the morale, motivation and welfare of our Airmen. When those are improved, everyone performs their mission better. I also want to show people how hard Robins’ Airmen work and what a great job they are doing at protecting our country.”

At the end of the day, Allen said she’s honored to be the face behind the lens, Robins’ history in the making.