Archive for the 'healthcare' Category

Feb 06 2010

don rickles as the superbowl flower voice

Published by under diabetes,news,portraits

Update: Trailers for the Toy Story 3 movie have been released today. You can hear Don as Mr. Potato Head in the clips.

The battle for your attention has begun. It’s Superbowl ad season, and only one ad has caught my attention so far. It has a talking flower and more importantly the voice of Don Rickles.

Watch the behind the scenes video teaser that has too many flowers and not enough of Don. But it’s worth look for the quips from Don anyway.

Behind the scenes video

A nice touch is the playing of Don’s bull fight theme

Like many, I grew up knowing Don as wacky characters in the Annette & Frankie beach movies and his appearances on the Tonight Show. He fell off my radar until a couple of years ago when he became a patient of my wife and agreed to be involved in her Conquering Diabetes book.

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"Diabetes can be controlled, provided you don't pass out every-time you prick your finger."

This gave me the opportunity to meet him in person and visit his house for a portrait session. After his initial joke where he asked the guard at the gate to turn me away, I discovered the secret to how he gets away with all of his insults. Deep down he’s a warm and loving guy.

When he’s not voicing a flower or Mr. Potato Head, Don still actively performs on stage where he is aggressively engages with his audience. (He’s in Vegas on Feb. 20 & 21st). What’s fascinating is how much he can get away with while bringing up the hot button issues of race and religion. He can insult people and make both the audience and the individual laugh. Balancing on that fine line of insult and compassion is what I think is his real talent.

It’s still a treat to pick up the home office phone and unexpectedly have Don on the other end of the line. He’s not always joking, but he is always kind. I honor my collection of memorabilia from his 80th birthday party and I look forward to Don and Barbara’s 45th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks.

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Memorabilia from Don Rickles' 80th birthday party

I hope that Teleflora will be sending plenty of flowers to their anniversary party. And with Valentine’s Day coming up: Get up order some flowers you Hockey Puck! Keep Don famous so that he can keep us laughing for another 80 years.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

6 responses so far

Jan 02 2010

why all this talk about diabetes & what’s a knol?

Published by under diabetes,healthcare,process

Update: Is your resolution is to treat your diabetes better this year? I have great a place to start. My wife wrote an excellent primer on how to treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. More on her background and the Google Knols can be found below. Happy New Year!

This is normally the time of year (originally published on June, 6, 2009) that I attend the American Diabetes Association Convention. It is a great opportunity to network, check out the convention displays and visit agencies in the host city.

You may have noticed that a number of my posts (like the recent one on Charlie Kimball) have references to diabetes. Its not that I have diabetes – my connection comes from being married to Anne Peters, a leading diabetes doctor. We met on assignment. I was asked to take a clinical research photo for UCLA Medical Center. The photo illustrated how the patient data was entered into a laptop and uploaded to the drug company from all the different research sites every night. It was used in a big fund-raising brochure that helped raise money to fund the new UCLA hospital.

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The first clinical research photo and Anne's book cover

That first photo eventually led to a Las Vegas based Elvis wedding and working together on her “Conquering Diabetes” book. I shot the cover and a number patient portraits that were paired with their stories throughout the book as well as overseeing the development of the promotional website.

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Patient portrait of Olympic sprinter Gary Hall, Jr.

This experience opened the door with Abbott Diabetes Care where I initially was asked about taking photos for the website that would announce the launch of their Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitor. A lunch meeting at the 2006 ADA Convention began with the usual discussions about what to shoot and budget and then spun-off into the territory of developing concepts. After an interesting brainstorming session back in their Alameda headquarters the project took a surprise turn. Instead of taking photos for the Navigator project I was asked to put together a team to convert an existing brochure to a website!

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The home page of the Navigator website

There was the expectation that the Navigator would soon be approved by the FDA and a launch site was urgent. I had a resident expert in my wife (who was conducting clinical trials with the device) and I assembled the experienced team of copywriter, Roger Poirier and art director, Lon Davis. I suddenly became a creative director interacting with my wonderful client Steve Bubrick and extrapolating from my years of communication experience to steer the web project, a direct mail piece and bike rider cars for Team Type 1 (I finally was able to take some photos for those).

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Ballerina Zippora Karz demonstrating drawing insulin into a syringe

In 2008 Anne was asked to be one of the charter contributor to the Google Knol project. The original seeding of the Knols came from experts in their field to differentiate them from Wikipedia. They have since become more broad based and similar to Squidoo Lenses. Both her Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes Knols were given the Top Pick Knol Award.

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Video blogs produced for Medscape on diabetes topics

The most recent project with Anne has been producing video blogs for Medscape that have become popular in the professional community. These were supposed to be easy to produce reports and we were given Flip cams to shoot the spots. After I managed to get one of the early Canon 5D MKII cameras that also shoots HD quality video, we switched over to create the 35mm film look that the camera gives. A recent episode on “Treating Diabetes During the Economic Crunch” (free registration required) has content that crosses over to the general public as well.

I recently completed a test using this camera to work out the kinks to use it in a daytime TV promotion, but I’ll save that for a future post.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

2 responses so far

Dec 01 2009

how twitter led me to Lemonade

Update: The “Lemonade” movie premiered in Boston last night (Nov. 30th) and reports are coming in. The first is from the Boston Business Journal. The second from the Adrants blog. Edward Boches weighs in on “The sweetness of lemons”. Philip Johnson writes in Adweek about the ad industry rallying around one of their own.

New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth” interviews Erik

The Christian Science Monitor has a feature on how Erik Proulx job loss led him to make Lemonade.

The latest update (12/29/2009) is a segment on the CBS Evening News.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

I confess. I’m a Twitterer. I can blame it on this blog.

Once I started blogging I wondered if I was cultivating a tree that would one day simply fall in the woods without being heard. So I looked for ways to share my pictures and the behind the scenes stories. That prompted me to explore the world social marketing. Which led me to the Please Feed the Animals and the movie “Lemonade”.

The beginning is a bit mysterious. I started by following some writers for Ad Age which somehow led to following the Twitter stream of Erik Proulx. He’s a laid-off  advertising copywriter that created a support blog for the recently unemployed advertising professionals called Please Feed the Animals.

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Detail of make-up brushes (still from the video)

Erik’s Twitter stream mentioned that he was looking for good stories about life after being laid-off. He was collecting recollections about the initial trauma and the opportunities that were created by their new time and freedom. How ad people turned lemons into lemonade would become his documentary film.

When I discovered that Erik was filming in Los Angeles, I tweeted back, asking if I could help. My original thought was that I would shoot some stills that could be used to promote the film. But I had acquired a Canon 5D MKII camera – a hybrid still/high definition video camera and have been playing with the video capability. So shooting some video was also a possibility.

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Kurtis Glade became a documentary filmmaker (still from the video)

Erik had progressed from shooting with his own little video camera to enlisting a top director and production team. But there were some scenes that needed to be shot before the production crew arrived in Los Angeles. I was enlisted to shoot a story was about a surfing camp that teaches kids and teens with Cystic Fibrosis how to surf as a form of therapy. Next there was a manicure session in a salon with a writer “that lost his job and changed his gender.”

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David Cohen lost his job and changed his gender

I was on my own shooting the surf camp and did a 50/50mix of stills and video. When director, Marc Colucci arrived, he wanted more video than stills for the manicure session with David Cohen.

The video shooting continued the next day where I ended up shooting second video camera during the more formal studio interview shoot. My role was to look for details and go for second angle close-ups of hands and faces that could be used to add variety and editing options. These video snips were mixed in with the interviews captured with a Red camera.

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Jeanne Schad became a coach (still from the video)

The resulting Lemonade film has generated a great deal of internet buzz. Promoted through Twitter and Facebook, the trailer now has over a 100,000 viewers and the final edit is close to completion.

You can follow the Twitter streams of the people mentioned by using their Twitter ID.

Erik Proulx  @eproulx,  David Cohen @identityTBD, Kurtis Glade @kurtisglade, Jeanne Schad @jeanneschad

There is much more to share about the Cystic Fibrosis surf camp that I’ll save for another post.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com
@MarkHarmel

7 responses so far

Nov 18 2009

drive fast – stay healthy with type 1 diabetes

Update: AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport Signs Charlie Kimball to 2010 Firestone Indy Lights Lineup. This was the strongest team in the series in 2009 and should lead to a good 2010 for Charlie.

Parade Magazine talks about Charlie Kimball racing with diabetes and our shared “Charlie’s Angels”.

I’m excited to have my own driver racing at Indianapolis this weekend. Now Charlie Kimball wasn’t always my driver. He was a recent discovery – or more precisely he discovered my wife to become his diabetes doctor. The Camarillo resident was over in Europe racing in the Formula 3 Euro Series when he was hospitalized after becoming ill in England. He had developed Type 1 diabetes and consulted with my wife, Dr. Anne Peters. She has worked with other top athletes with diabetes including Olympic swimmer Gary Hall, Jr.

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Intense focus before his qualifying run at the Long Beach Grand Prix

She worked with him first on managing his diabetes to stay healthy and then progressed to helping him manage his blood sugar while driving. In addition to gauges that monitor his car’s performance you can see his continuous glucose monitor mounted on his steering wheel. The condition that once threatened to end his racing career has now helped him to land major sponsors as he returns to racing in the Indy Lights Series. He even has a new green Levemir paint scheme on his #35 car.

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In the middle of his steering wheel is a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor

The second race of their season was on the streets of Long Beach and I was able to tag-a-long with his “race doctor” and visit with him back in the racing trailer and be in the pits as he prepared for his qualifying runs and the race. Sitting with his friends and family in the stands it was thrilling to watch him come down the long straightaway and picking off car after car in the 1st turn passing zone. It was very different than my normal NASCAR fan behavior of rooting for a good race, unlike the die-hard fans of Jr. Nation that cheer for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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Getting ready for the race

This Friday (May 22nd) Charlie will race at Indianapolis –  the most important track in America. As he quotes in his blog, “I have been to ‘big’ races all over the world- Monaco Grand Prix, Macau Grand Prix, Long Beach Grand Prix, a Moto GP race. I have even been to qualifying at the 500 before, but being a part of the whole ‘Month of May’ is a totally different experience.”

To learn more about Charlie you can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.

Charlie also has been the talk of the healthcare blog and Twittersphere after he sent out the first branded tweet under his @racewithinsulin moniker. There was a bit of an uproar at first that has died down to an official review of FDA guidelines on how pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers can use social media.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

 drive fast   stay healthy with type 1 diabetes

4 responses so far

Oct 23 2009

encounters with i. m. pei

Update: A belated congratulations to I. M. Pei for winning the 2010 Royal Gold Medal in Architecture. I recently discovered this by looking at my blog logs that showed that Pei’s name was one of the most searched and I found the announcement of the award while searching for the cause.

In my recent Washington D. C. post (4/16/09) I mentioned that I was fortunate enough to meet and make some portraits of I. M. Pei and his sons C. C. and Sandy. The location was the Pei Partnership office in Manhattan which was then a more modest operation than he had in his Pei, Cobb & Freed past. There was no grand architectural space that served a a showroom for the firm, but in the entrance was this reception area that I decided was the most representative of his building spaces.

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Portrait of I.M. Pei in his Manhattan office

He seemed to come into the office about once a week to review and oversee the next steps of their current projects. The purpose of my portrait was to help raise money to build the UCLA hospital that the Partnership designed, but the active project was a Bank of China headquarters in Bejing.

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I. M. Pei's glasses on a set of plans

I want to do a portrait of I. M. Pei’s glasses as well, but I had to wait because he needed them while he worked. So I was able to sit-in as team reviewed the details of the bank’s plans. Pei was very attuned to the details of how big the trees would grow at maturity, the type of stone that would be used, and great attention was given to the shape of the object that would grace the spire on the front of the building. There was first was talk about balls, but Pei thought a bit and decided on rings – because “rings are very Buddhist.”

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Tourist in front of the Louvre Pyramid

Years after my portrait session I had the opportunity to visit Paris and the  view his design of the Louvre entrance with the famed pyramid. All my grand plans to show the pyramid glowing at night, floating in pools of water were quickly extinguished after seeing the pools drained for maintenance and learning that the night-time lighting doesn’t happen in the summer.

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Couple kissing on the spiral stairway inside the Louvre Pyramid

So I concentrated on using the pyramid in the background and showing it from the inside and included the prismatic effect on the biggest secret revealed in the “Da Vinci Code“.

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Inverted pyramid that plays a role in the Da Vinci Code

Back in the US in Spring of 2009 I finally paid my first visit to the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. This study in triangles was granted Architecture Week’s 25-Year Award. It was described at its opening in 1978 by Washington Post architecture critic Wolf Von Eckardt as “an architectonic symphony of light and marble, color and glass, painting and sculpture.”

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The lobby of the National Gallery of Art

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

One response so far

Oct 21 2009

zippora karz “the sugarless plum”

Published by under diabetes,healthcare,portraits

Update: There is a cover feature on Zippora in the February, 2010 issue of Diabetes Forecast.

Zippora Karz was living her dream of dancing in the New York City Ballet. She was a standout in the School of American Ballet founded by George Balanchine and had been anointed by Jerome Robbins to dance in leading roles in the New York City Ballet.

But something was wrong with her instrument – her body.  As she explains“…I didn’t feel right. I felt more fatigued than I should have and tried to ignore the symptoms that were affecting me daily, from hunger pangs and frequent urination, to a spaced- out feeling in my head. But it was the sores under my arms where the costumes rubbed that threatened my ability to perform. They got so infected I could not lift my arms and forced me to go to a doctor.”

Zippora tells her story as a dancer with diabetes in her new book “The Sugarless Plum”. In it she shares her passion for dance and her struggles to find a doctor that could properly diagnose her condition and balance her treatment with the demands of being a world class athlete.

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Zippora Karz posing on sandstone rock formation near her Malibu home

The diabetes doctor she eventually discovered is my wife, Dr. Anne Peters and Zippora shared some of her story in Anne’s book Conquering Diabetes.

“Next I found a doctor who was very balanced in her approach to diabetes. I went back to frequent blood sugar monitoring and taking injections of insulin, but never right before I went on stage. I always kept my meter right offstage in my dance bag and always kept something to reverse a low blood sugar in it. I was finally learning how to adapt to having diabetes.

As I learned the delicate play of dancing with diabetes I also had to look reality in the face. Dancing was my passion, but was this lifestyle realistic for a person with type 1 diabetes? Part of me felt relieved at the idea of quitting. I was tired. But more than that I had lost confidence in my body and in my dancing. Using diabetes as an excuse felt like an easy way out. I thought long and hard about this and eventually decided if I quit then I would never know the truth. So I stayed with the company and hung in there. I eventually found a way to balance my diet, exercise, and performances. Ultimately, I was promoted to the rank of soloist ballerina of the New York City Ballet where I performed until August of 1999.”

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Zippora preparing one of her daily doses of insulin

Zippora was living and dancing in New York City when she was diagnosed with diabetes.  She had access to many endocrinologists and was very persistent in changing doctors until she found one she could work with to help her manage her diabetes and continue dancing.  Because of her persistence, Zippora has done amazingly well.  She had a successful career in the ballet and is now working as a teacher in Los Angeles.  She has no complications from her diabetes and serves as a role model to lots of young people who have diabetes.

I’ve been fortunate enough to witness Zippora in action a number of times at diabetes camps sharing her story and joy of movement with youngsters learning to live with diabetes. There is a great video of Zippora telling her story at her booksite where you can read some excepts as well.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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Oct 09 2009

breathe. surf. repeat. the cystic fibrosis surf camp experience

The amazingly rich story of Kurtis Glade and his family landing in my lap with a few quick Twitter and email messages from Erik Proulx, ”Any chance you can be in Santa Monica at Sunrise tomorrow? Kurtis Glade (our subject) is going to be there with the film DP to get some great light. Weather calls for Fog, so that could be stunning as well.” (See previous post on how Twitter led me to Lemonade.)

The moody morning light was the perfect palette to paint the story of Kurtis Glade. After a long run as a leading advertising copywriter and creative director, Kurtis was laid-off from his big-agency job. The changing ad-world and slowing economy left him searching for other outlets for his creativity.

The short preparation allowed me to exercise my skills at finding a story instead of illustrating one that that others have shaped already. The “June Gloom” fog set the scene of quiet contemplation that was the perfect opening.

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Kurtis Glade faces the hope and the challenges of a new dawn

In the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Santa Monica there is also hope for his youngest daughter Malin and others with cystic fibrosis. Medical researchers have established that surfing is a natural therapy. The saline in the air and water acts as a lubricant to help to break down the congestion in the lungs of people with CF.

Kurtis decided to use his story-telling skills and extra time to make a movie about the Surf Experience Days sponsored by the Mauli Ola Foundation. He explains, “I can’t invent drug to cure cystic fibrosis, but I can make a movie.”

He’s made a PSA for the foundation that gives you a pretty good flavor for the film he plans to produce. He is currently looking for help in obtaining funding for the ongoing project.

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The joy of Malin Glade learning how to surf

Many of you may recognized Kurtis from the opening shot in the trailer of the Lemonade movie. The quick email message from Erik Proulx was my background brief on the project outside of a few messages about the possibility of shooting both stills and video for his movie.

I knew that Kurtis had multiple cameras working on the surfing angle of the day’s event and that allowed me to concentrate on the story of Kurtis and his family. I felt that I could also go for the high art shots. Whatever I captured wold be woven into the tapestry of the larger movie and intercut with Kurtis’ interview.

When this was shot, I still thought of myself as a still guy that happened to own this new camera that has this odd button that activated a video capture. But I had studied cinematography with renowned DP, Allen Daviau and at UCLA and learned that the most important skills were always composition, use of light and knowing how to tell a story. I played with the camera’s unique shallow depth of field look that you can see in the opening scene of the video below.

A wider selection of the stills from the day tells the fuller story about both the joy and the challenges that Kurtis and his family face. We see older daughter Ellie (who is CF free) enjoy surfing for the simple pleasure of riding the waves. While her mother, Britta one moment serves as cheerleader and then as comforter and pill dispenser to the chilled Malin .

Mauli Ola surf camp for people with cystic fibrosis slideshow from Mark Harmel on Vimeo.

I’m honored that my work will be featured in the Please Feed the Animals documentary Lemonade as well as supporting the Mauli Ola Foundation. I hope it plays a part in  inspiring ad people to either find a life back in advertising, or succeed in new ventures – like documentary filmaking. And may many people with CF learn to surf and breathe a good and long life.

Many thanks to editor Connor McDonald at Beast/SF, (with color adjustments by John Jenkins-Stark), for their work on the video segment.

Erik Proulx @eproulx, , Kurtis Glade @kurtisglade, Connor McDonald @connortmcdonald

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

3 responses so far

Oct 07 2009

nobel committee honors the dawn of digital

Published by under healthcare,news,technique

The fathers of digital photography were honored yesterday with the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Bell Labs researchers Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith shared half of the prize for their development of the charge-coupled devices, or CCD’s. Millions of digital cameras and many other devices now use CCD chips.

My introduction into digital photography was less noble, but never-less momentous in my mind. I made the switch out of love.

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An early digitally captured photo shot on assignment

I’d fallen in love with a clinical researcher that I met shooting while at UCLA Medical Center. With her having a son in a great public school system in Manhattan Beach it was better for me to move down there to be together. That meant moving away from a photo district in the Hollywood area that was full of professional film labs. I used to walk a block down my alley to a great lab and have my film back in two hours. Now I either had to drive 30 minutes to a pro lab, or use a consumer lab 10  minutes away and risk having my slides scratched.

Digital cameras started to become more sophisticated so I decided to make the leap. I’d been scanning film already and working on the files in Photoshop, so I only had to add in the digital capture. But I started slowly with my new Canon D-60. The first photos were taken on our honeymoon vacation down in Mexico in March, 2002. When these bone density scan photos were taken in October I still didn’t trust the camera for commercial assignments.

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The better film version of the bone density scan

Back in those days I would use my Polaroid back to test my lighting set-up. I would take a shot and wait for the “instant” 2 minute development time to see if I had the balance correct. The fist change I made was to use my digital camera in place of the Polaroid. The feedback was truly instant and I would use that for my tests. But I wasn’t ready to fully trust the final capture yet. I would shoot a few frames after the tests and then switch to film. The problem was with this first digital camera was a poor viewfinder that made it hard to focus and the half-frame CMOS chip (a cousin to the CCD) that changed the effective focal length of my lenses.

In the photos above, the main difference was that I could us my wide angle lens on my film camera to capture the more dynamic close view. I continued to use the duel system for the next year until the full-frame Canon 1Ds hit the market. I’ve been digital ever since.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

3 responses so far

Oct 01 2009

the heart valve race

Published by under healthcare,press,process

UPDATE: 10/1/09

The New York Times today has a business feature on the race between Edwards and Medtronic to develop a replacement heart valve. the original post ran on March, 28, 2008.

I tend to be attracted to more free-range photographic subjects that live out in the real world rather than shooting in a studio. But with all photography the interplay of message, light and design still come into play.

Such was the case when I had the opportunity to shoot a transcathether heart valve. This is a device that serves as an artificial heart valve that could potentially be a significant advancement because it can be easily placed into the heart by threading it up through the groin instead of more invasive open heart surgery

One of the clinical trial sites is at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where I have been shooting for their research magazine. This was an issue devoted to surgical advances and the hearh valve won out as the story to be featured on the cover. I was able to read a feature on the procedure that was published in the Cleveland Clinic Magazine and see some sample photos technical photos of the device and view a video of the insertion process.

The first approach was to attend a surgical insertion of the device and show the valve being placed by shooting real time view the surgeon sees on the angiogram monitor.

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The transcathether heart valve being inserted in a patient shown on an angiogram monitor

This had the potential to create an abstract art feel to a medical procedure where a trained eye could also see the mesh of the new heart valve and the shadow of the balloon being used to expand the valve. The attempt was a success, but the angiogram screen is still in the low definition phase and the editorial team decided that we wanted more detail and dimension that would be possible shooting the real valve.

Fortunately Edwards Lifesciences is in nearby Irvine, CA and I was able to pick up the valve and insertion device. I was attracted by both the balloon and the mesh around the valve and thought that I could make it come to life by getting very close and shining some light through the balloon and using the pattern of the mesh.

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Still life version showing the replacement valve on the insertion balloon

A version of this was on the cover of the Cedars-Sinai Discoveries magazine.

Mark Harmel
harmelphoto.com
@MarkHarmel

No responses yet

Sep 10 2009

the challenge of digitizing medical files

Published by under diabetes,healthcare,news

The New York Times today has a business story on the Tech Companies Push to Digitize Patients’ Records. It’s a major undertaking that may be solved with major investments by big corporations and government stimulus money.

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Converting existing paper records is an issue

Readers of my oncology office post saw a real-life example of the paper challenge.

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