Ron Carty, longtime ARL photographer retires

September 19, 2014

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • Technology has changed a lot since Ron Carty began his photography career
  • Some of the work Carty is the most proud of is work he did with a team on live fire survivability tests and his work on MRAP vehicle and helicopter crew stations
  • Carty said he has been privileged to make a living doing what he has always loved to do... taking photographs

When the time came for college, Ron Carty chose to go to The Maryland Institute College of Art, which was the only school in the area that offered a degree in photography at the time. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography in 1975.

After graduation, Carty worked as an Olan Mills photographer and photo lab technician for five years. He was hired at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1980 as a photographer (scientific and technical) at what is now called the Aberdeen Test Center.

Then in 1990, Carty got a call from an old friend, Bill Nemeth who was the lead photographer at the U.S. Army Human Engineering Laboratory. HEL later became the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Human Research and Engineering Directorate in the early 90s.

"A colleague had recently accepted a new job in Edgewood and my friend asked me if I would consider coming over to HEL," said Carty. "I accepted and have been here ever since, and I've learned a lot about human factors photography and high speed motion picture acquisition. I've been a part of many human factor teams at KD and M-Range here at HRED. I also have had a lot of interesting trips all over the country."

Technology has changed a lot since Carty began his photography career.

"Back in the early days we had darkroom and developed film here in our building. There were no computers on our desks yet. I remember asking my supervisor if he could get me a typewriter so I could make labels for the video tapes we were producing," said Carty. "The next thing I know I have a computer, printer and I'm signed up for a DOS computer class!"

Some of the work Carty is the most proud of is work he did with a team on live fire survivability tests and his work on MRAP vehicle and helicopter crew stations.

"I'm told work I participated in with the Bradley fighting vehicle and the M1A2 main battle tank live fire survivability tests probably prevented casualties of American Soldiers in recent wars," said Carty. "Great care was taken to develop a system that not only could give a punch, but also survive one too – keeping the crew safe and out of harm's way. I also take great pride in the work I've done with fellow HRED colleagues, Rick Kozycki and Jim Faughn when we formed a successful human factor team that did evaluations of the seating and restraint systems on MRAP vehicles and helicopter crew stations."

Carty said things have changed a lot during his 34 years of government service, but the one thing that must remain constant is to remember who our ultimate customer is....and that is the American Soldier. He said we must think of that everyday so he or she can "do the difficult things that they are asked to do for our country."

"I am the luckiest person in the world when it comes to happiness in my career choice. Not a lot of people can say that. My whole life I have been privileged to make a living doing what I have always loved to do... taking photographs," said Carty.

Carty said he was that kid in school who always had the camera taking pictures for the newspaper and yearbook.

"You might say that my photo career started at APG way back in 1968 when a childhood friend of mine, who was a dependent here at APG, took me as a guest to the APG Hobby and Craft Center photography darkroom. It was there that I first witnessed the magic of seeing a photographic image develop right before my eyes under a red safelight in a developing solution tray. At that moment, I was hooked on photography and making images that tell a story," said Carty.

Carty will retire from ARL on Sept. 30, 2014.


Last Update / Reviewed: September 19, 2014