Archive for the 'news' Category

Aug 26 2015

Ten Years After Katrina

The story of this weekend will be looking back at the events and and the coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the impact on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I was in France when the storm hit and was only remotely aware of the storm and the suffering at the time. We all have learned more since that time and a great way to review the coverage will be available at the Newseum, one of my new favorite places in Washington D.C.

If you can’t make it there you can view the web version of the exhibit and listen to an interview of the Director of Exhibit Development, Cathy Trost on Talk of the Nation. Times-Picayune photographer Ted Jackson also tells of his experience as one of the first responders to the developing crisis.

I was in New Orleans six months after Katrina and made a visit to the Lower Ninth Ward district, and was shocked at how much devastation was still present. The entire neighbor was mostly deserted and it was possible to wander into many of the homes to witness the destruction.

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This Wizard of Oz looking scene resulted from houses floating and then dropping

This lifting and dropping effect was present inside houses as well. I saw entire sofas and refrigerators that appeared to be inside a home that a giant picked up and shook like an 8-ball. Many of them looked as though the occupants walked away and never returned.

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This hat was either unmoved from the bedpost or was placed back there after the water receded.

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Outside the signs showed the extent of the destruction…

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and the toll on pets.

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Salvation will relay on forces beyond FEMA – even doing more than a “Heck of a job” this time.

Many people see that the Katrina destruction was the result of natural disaster. Not so says actor Harry Shearer. In his documentary, The Big Uneasy, Shearer says much of the destruction in New Orleans was man-made and preventable — and largely the fault of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The movie will be shown in theaters on Monday Aug, 30th across the country for one night only. Check the website for local listings.

Andrew Curtis of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California headed a team that documented the slow progression of rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward. This video comparisons can be seen in the New York Times.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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May 03 2013

Managing Diabetes Trackside at the Long Beach Grand Prix

Published by under diabetes,healthcare,news,press

A quick post and a couple of behind the scenes photos of Dr. Anne Peters during the taping of the behind the scenes TV show “INDYCAR 36″ that follows Charlie Kimball on and off the track before the Long Beach Grand Prix.

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Checking Charlie’s meter after practice.

The great part of being with Charlie’s doctor at the track is being in the pits during the race preparation and practice sessions and sitting with his family and friends in the stands during the race.

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Interview with Anne and Charlie back at the trailer.

The “INDYCAR 36″ show airs on Saturday May 4th.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

On Twitter:

@HarmelPhoto

@MarkHarmel

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Nov 02 2011

Heart valve improves quality of life while looking good

Published by under healthcare,news,process,technique

Update: The FDA approved the Edwards valve – it is the first replacement for the aortic valve.

Patients that received a new heart valve and the manufacturer Edwards LifeSciences are both very happy today. New research announced at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting reported that many patients who received this transcatheter Sapien heart valve felt “like they were ten years younger.”

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The valve was ready for its close-up

I was able to see the new valve up close while I was taking photos for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Fall 2008 research magazine Discoveries. There was a cover story about one of the clinical trials at the hospital that involved this experimental artificial heart valve. Instead of requiring open-heart surgery this valve is designed to be inserted up through the groin into the heart. It’s then expanded into place at the site of the current damaged heart valve by a balloon.

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The angiogram art approach to the valve

Editor Laura Grunberger, designer Diane Kuntz and I pondered the best way to create a cover photo for the valve story. There was the possibility of shooting a rare live surgery of a trial patient, or a still life of the valve itself. We decided to explore both options. Live surgery presents its own shooting challenges, but I had recently been shooting in an angiogram suite and was impressed by the video images that are captured during the procedure.

I thought the balloon and wire mesh had great design possibilities and there could be an angiogram art approach to the story. But I didn’t count on the heart monitor (dark instrument on the right) getting in the way. It was still a contender though and there was room for type and copy that would fit a cover design.

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Showing a similar procedure in the angiogram suite

The second version involved going down to Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine to pick up an experimental valve. There I received my training on inflating the balloon and how not to destroy the sample. Back in my studio I had to operate the controls like the real surgeon above while putting it into place and keeping it damp without looking wet.

I had seen the more scientific depiction of the valve on the Edwards site and wanted to take a more dramatic approach. This involved setting up my own still-life surgery where the macro lens was inches away from the valve that was surrounded by lights, stands and reflectors.

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The studio shot was selected over the OR version

I loved the balloon and mesh and created this detailed shot that had an abstract feel. I gave Diane some room to move in a little tighter, she inserted the masthead and some copy blocks you have a cover shot.

Older patients that couldn’t survive open-heart surgery can now live longer, happier lives and the technique could move to wider use as the clinical trials progress.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

On Twitter:

@HarmelPhoto

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May 26 2011

Off to The Indy 500

Update: Before the street race in Baltimore Charlie Kimball talked with New York Times Wheels writer Roy Furchott about how he drives 200 MPH without having a blood sugar of 200.  

I’m off to the Indy 500 tomorrow to view to 100th Anniversary of the race and to see Charlie Kimball be the first driver with type 1 diabetes to compete in the race. I’ve written about being with him at races before and now you get to hear from him directly in this interview that was conducted at the Long Beach Grand Prix in April.

Charlie talks about how he learned to continue his racing career after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He is interviewed by my wife and his doctor – Anne Peters, the Director of the USC Clinical Diabetes Programs. Together they have worked out a system for Charlie to manage his diabetes while racing.

Additionally, Charlie reveals his emotions when he was first diagnoses with diabetes. He shares how he learned about his condition from other patients and bloggers, plus offers advice for other doctors about how they could work with their own patient athletes.

If you are an athlete with diabetes or help to treat one you will want to view Anne’s extended video on Medscape about how she works with Charlie to manage his blood sugar while racing. (Free registration required).

To get in the mood for the race watch Charlie go for the win in last year’s Indy Lights race at Indianapolis last year. This shows that he is excels on oval tracks as well as road courses.

As an added bonus read about how Charlie is the 2nd Kimball to make history at Indy. His father Gordon was the chief designer engineer of Pat Patrick cars that won the Indy 500 in 1981, ’82 and ’84. He and wife Nancy also get credit for raising a son they can be proud of on and off the track.

(A huge thanks go out to my friend John McBride who had the skill, wisdom and patience to turn my stills and video into a professional presentation.)

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

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May 17 2011

Mysterious Skin Condition Spreads on Internet

Published by under healthcare,news,portraits,worklife

For all the good support that empowered patient groups can provide to each others, it now looks as though concerns about a mysterious skin infestation were also spread on the internet. What was called Morgellons disease on websites with reports of rashes, eruptions and skin ulcerations has turned out to have no know cause according to a report in the LA Times about a Mayo Clinic study that reviewed samples provided by 108 patients.

NoahCraft Mysterious Skin Condition Spreads on Internet

Dermatologist Dr. Noah Craft praised Mayo study

The Mayo study was praised by Harbor-UCLA Medical Center dermatologist Dr. Noah Craft, who was quoted as saying that it was ”the best study done to date” on the condition. The photo above was take of Craft back in 2003 at the old UCLA Medical Center.

Two other studies that are being performed by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, are slated for release in the next few months.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

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Feb 10 2011

Is a graphic a photo better? Time vs. Smile Train

Published by under healthcare,news,portraits,press

Update: 2/10/11 – This photo of Bibi Aishia by Jodi Bieber just won the World Press Photo of the Year 2010. Congratulations Jodi, is there a lesson to be learned here?

This week’s cover of TIME has a very graphic photo of Aishia, an 18-year old Afghan woman who had her ears and nose cut off by members of the Taliban for fleeing her abusive in-laws.

At first glance it’s a photo of a beautiful woman. Then there’s the second take of shock after seeing her missing nose.

Time Is a graphic a photo better? Time vs. Smile Train

A beautiful woman or a shocking portrait?

In a video, photographer Jodi Bieber talks about her personal reaction to the Aisha and how she wanted to portray her as a beautiful woman and not a victim.

Richard Stengel, Managing Editor expressed concern about running the photo. Her was worried about the safety of Aisha (she is in a safe location and is headed to the US for reconstructive surgery) and about the disturbing effect it could have on children viewing the cover.

I admire the balanced treatment of the photo. It would have been easy to make the photo even more shocking, but I think that causes people to turn away instead of stopping to engage the issue.

Foundations that surgically repair cleft lips and cleft palates take the opposite approach. Both Operation Smile and the Smile Train take the approach of showing very graphic photos of children with deformed faces.

SmileTrain Is a graphic a photo better? Time vs. Smile Train

A graphic approach to fund-raising used by Smile Train

When I had the assignment of working on a cleft palate story for the UCLA School of Medicine Magazine I needed to decide on which patient to feature and how graphic of a deformity to show. As I flipped through a photo book of patient photos in the office of Dr. Henry Kawamoto there were many examples of major deformity. I selected a boy with a mild defect that I showed playing on a tire swing with his family. The cleft palate could be seen, but a happy childhood was the over-riding message.

My low-key portrayal was a conscious reaction to the Smile Train approach and supported by the editor. Their use of photography may be the right method for soliciting donations though. The co-founder, Brian Mullaney comes from an advertising background and they may have tested an entire range of fund-raising approaches and learned that the graphic photos work.

For me, the TIME approach of attraction and shock works better. The Smile Train photos just move me to quickly turn the page.

What do you think? Which engages you more? Can both approaches be right for different reasons?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

2 responses so far

Oct 06 2010

Into the in Vitro Fertilization Lab

Published by under healthcare,news,press

A quick post in honor of the Nobel prize winners Robert G. Edwards, an English biologist who with a physician colleague, Dr. Patrick Steptoe, developed the in vitro fertilization procedure for treating human infertility.

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ICSI (artificial fertilization), sperm being injected into egg

My brush with the field came from a lab in a fertilization clinic at UCLA. We put together an illustration of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI.

If you look close you will notice that the little fish-like sperm is still in the injection needle instead of being placed in the egg. This was to avoid any controversy over creating and destroying a life.

The egg in the photo was a sample of the extra eggs that are produced in fertility treatment that often get discarded instead of being used for stem cell research.

(The original photo was more monochrome, the color was added by the imaging team at Getty Images. You can look for image # 876486-001.)

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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Sep 11 2010

pepperdine waves to a 9/11 memorial

Update 11/13/10: Some people have commented on shooting with an iPhone. I have a longer post on that subject that I wrote last Summer.

On an early morning drive up the coast this morning I ran into a sea of flags on the lawn of Pepperdine University in Malibu. It turned out to be a yearly tribute that the campus College Republicans present to honor those that lost their lives.

A sign on the site explains that the “exhibit displays one flag for each victim..including the flags from other nations died on that fateful day.”

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The Pepperdine Waves this morning was a sea of flags

For a camera I only had my iPhone 4 that now shoots high dynamic range or HDR photos. It works by the camera taking multiple exposures quickly and combining the light and dark frames into one photo. This can work well if the subject matter and camera remains still, or it can create this interesting effect when you have a sea of moving flags.

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A natural special effect created by the HDR feature

The display attracted a number of people stopping with their still and video cameras, and a roadside supporter.

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A Malibu postman shows his supoort for the memorial

Early morning bike riders are also a staple of the beach highway scene and a walk through the flag provided a training break for this rider.

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A rider walks through the flag display

After so much hype in the news about extremists yelling about the location of a community center and threats of burning a Koran, it was good to see a quiet reflection of a tragic day that truly honors the victims.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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Aug 24 2010

Deliverance turns 40, a look back at an evening with James Dickey

Published by under news,portraits

James Dickey’s break-out novel Deliverance celebrates its 40 publishing anniversary this year. The photo below was taken nine years later when he was visiting Sanibel Island. He’s best known for the novel about the ill-fated canoe trip that was turned into hit movie. Dwight Garner has a wonderful remembrance of the book and his life in today’s New York Times.

I was the resident photo editor at the local Sanibel-Captiva Islander and friends with Fleur Weymouth, a wonderful photographer that taught me the beauty of minimalism in nature photography. Dickey was in town giving a poetry reading and was invited the the after-party at Fleur’s house. (The wood-pecker painting was created by George Weymouth.)

JamesDickey Deliverance turns 40, a look back at an evening with James Dickey

Poet and author James Dickey in the home of Fleur Weymouth on Sanibel Island

Dickey clearly was the center of attention for the evening whether it was on the stage reading or playing guitar – including a bit of the famous dueling banjo theme from the movie.

The biggest treat for me though was his poetry reading. I was never a big poetry fan then or now, but Dickiy’s readings were always a treat. The poems he read that evening were very accessible, entertaining and he was a wonderful story teller. Here’s a short sample of him speaking.

The remainder of the Summer would be a great time to catch-up, or re-read the novel or see the movie. For me the anniversary is a great reminder of a memorable evening. Do you have memories of the movie, the book or a personal connection to share?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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Feb 25 2010

documentary photograph & photoshop

Update: New York Time tech writer David Pogue raised the question of Photoshop and Photography: When is it Real? The subject came up when two winners in Popular Photography’s annual Reader’s Photos Contest had two winners that clearly were Photoshop compositions.

The question is when does manipulation take an image beyond a photograph? Next year the magazine handles the issue by having a separate category for Photoshop creations?

What do you think about that and the questions raised by my examples below?

One way that I describe the way I work is that I’m a documentary photographer that both knows how to find and see great light, and knows how to make it great when its not.

When I doing a commercial job part of the process is going into a real situation and making it look better. If that involves doing a head transplant from one frame to another or cleaning up a distracting background in Photoshop – that’s just part of the service that’s offered.

But what about when I head back out into the streets? What sort of alteration is fair game? Most serious journalistic publications only allow what could be traditionally done in a darkroom. Perhaps there is a vigorous discussion that is raging in the fine arts world about this issue that I’m not following.

What do you think is fair game from the two examples below and an earlier post about a Moulin Rouge photo?

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An altered documentary photo of an Upper Eastside socialite walking her poodle

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The grate was behind her foot and the sprinkler sign was removed

This Upper Eastside photo of a society women taking her poodle out for a walk was only slightly altered. The red sign above the fire-hose plug and the sidewalk grate were removed to cut down on the visual distraction. I personally only have a slight problem with this one. Would it be better if the alterations were indicated similar to what I did with these photos?

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A subway mime preparing for her performance

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One frame has the great reflection in the mirror.....and the other has the reaction of the passengers

The subway mime is more of a stretch. Instead of just cleaning up stray distractions this is a blend of two moments where the charm comes from actually being there and capturing the moment. I could say that I indeed captured the moment and the convergence just happened a different times. In my heart I feel its cheating. But is a much better photo as the combination than either one is alone.

What do you think? Where would you draw the line?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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