Archive for the 'press' 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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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.

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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.

ICSI1 Into the in Vitro Fertilization Lab

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

2 responses so far

Feb 16 2010

something went up today

Published by under news,portraits,press,technique,worklife

Update: From today’s New York Times – “Should the United States hire Elon Musk, at a cost of a few billion dollars, to run a taxi service for American astronauts?”

A real version of the SpaceX rocket pictured below successfully launched today (9/29/2008) from the Kwajalein Atol – which you all know is 2,500 southwest of Hawaii.

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Elon Musk with a model of his SpaceX Rocket

There was liquid fuel in the rocket and the project was powered by space, electric sports car and solar power entrepreneur Elon Musk. I took his photo is the El Segundo headquarters for the Wharton Business School alumni magazine back in 2004 when we were all still using color gels in our science photos.

Would you bet your (or our) money on his rocket?

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

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Jan 14 2010

text to donate innovation

My interest in social innovation prompted me to notice a new fundraising development being used to help the victims of the Haitian earthquake. Mobile giving has played a huge role in massing many small donations to the relief cause. A promotion by the NFL Playoffs over the weekend produced stunning results. The current total reported now on Thursday morning is over $25 million dollars.

Now I gave money the old fashioned way. An email from the Red Cross arrived yesterday morning and I visited their website to make a donation. I’m sure that plenty of other donations came in through this method as well. I was surprised that this new mobile method sprung up seemingly over night. Wondering about when the cell phone system was established I found a plan that was set up after Hurricane Katrina by the Wireless Foundation in September of 2006. Called Text 2HELP, this system partnered with the American Red Cross.

The current system (via MSNBC) of mobile giving effort was organized by the mGive Foundation, as well as the Mobile Giving Foundation, which are coordinating with wireless carriers. In the Red Cross’ case, phone users can text the word “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10,” and when prompted, hit “YES” to confirm the donation.

The mGive Foundation tried the system in a Washington Nationals baseball game two years ago to generate funds for the Diabetes Care Complex, but the idea didn’t work well then, and the method only raised $190,000 in 2008 for the Red Cross to help with Hurricane Ike.

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The text to donate system was set-up after Hurricane Katrina

The difference this time has been credited to the endorsements from Secretary of State Clinton and the White House blog.

The text to donate system has been so effective at both generating funds for the rescue as well as mobilizing the community. Supporters donate, then turn around and spread the word to friends in their social networks. This cycle of giving and sharing sets up a system of social proof that will encourage others to do the same. People often want to help in disasters like Haiti and look for a tangible way to assist. The cell phone texting method is a quick and easy way to move their sympathy into action.

It’ll be interesting to see the studies of this system that will come out in the following months. I’m sure that other charitable groups and foundations are looking into the system now. Will, or should this be saved for the big disasters. Would you like to use this for everyday giving as well?

What do you think about this way of giving? Have you seen this method being used before or is this just the first massive use of the method? How would you like to see text to donate be used in the future?

For a collection of groups that are helping in the rescue and other ways to give – a page has been organized at the NPR site. You can go there for news updates and for links to the other relief groups.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

4 responses so far

Dec 19 2009

the story behind the living joshua tree holiday card

Almost exactly one year ago a Winter storm came rolling through Southern California. This normally just means rain here in the Los Angeles basin, but we do get snow in the high mountains – and on special occasions the snow level drops down low enough to deposit snow in the high desert area of Joshua Tree National Park. Visiting the snow covered desert is one of the real treats of living out here and my excursion out there last year became this year’s Holiday card.

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The snow covered Joshua Tree that became a card

The printing of my cards is done in-house on my own printer using a card stock that I get at Red River Paper. In the middle of printing my Epson 2400 suddenly stopped printing without warning!  Instead of having a “Check Engine” light like we have on our cars now, this printer simply shuts down when it’s time for service. A late night trip to the electronic store to update the printer got me back in business to finish the rest of the cards.

As I was complaining about the printer to my friend Chuck Chugumlung and showed him a video version of the scene on my iPhone. He said, “You should just do an interactive version of the card”. It never occurred to me, but Chuck is an interactive designer that does this sort of animation all the time. I sent him the movie and he came back with this wonderful interactive version of a Holiday card. If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the link. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You can even play it more than once.

The original clip is a full HD video version of the snow falling. I had received one of the first Canon 5D MkII cameras, but really hadn’t done much with the video capability beyond learning how to push the record button. So after trudging out through the snow to the tree I set up for a still photo, took my shots and after seeing clumps of snow falling around me, I decided that I would try to catch the action of the melting snow. At the time, I was proud and showed it to my TV friends. The reaction? “That’s nice, where are you going to show it?” With the traditional TV frame being a horizontal rectangle, he had a point. But since then I’ve seen some interesting work with what some call “living one-sheets”. This is where a movie ad comes to life. Here’s one for Marley & Me from last Christmas. These are often shown in shopping malls that have HD TV sets turned vertically.

Here is the original video version – only four seconds.

Snow drop – Joshua Tree National Park from Mark Harmel on Vimeo.

On that same day I also shot another horizontal variation I liked. I sent both versions off to the Photo District News and this one was chose to be one of their first’ “Photo of the Day“.

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This version became the PDN Photo of the Day

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

 the story behind the living joshua tree holiday card

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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

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Oct 23 2009

wanna buy a camel?

Update: The Birqash camel market is running into hard times. The cost for the camels is rising and the selling price is falling. An LA Times feature today highlights the squeeze on the market I visited in 2006. It also confirms my suspicion that the camels were being sold for their meat instead as a working animal.

“It’s just like judging a beautiful girl,” said Fowzan al-Madr, a camel breeder from the Kharj region southeast of Riyadh. “You look for big eyes, long lashes and a long neck, maybe 39 or 40 inches.”

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A very cute young camel

Camels have been in the news lately and I understand why. I fell in love with camels on a recent trip to Egypt. Not in love enough as the Dubai prince that paid $2.7 million for a camel today. But as a tourist sight outside of Cairo I can highly recommend the Birquash Camel Market (Souq al-Gamaal) that is 35 KM Northwest of Cairo. I had the chance to travel to Egypt with my wife and equally brilliant doctors on an American Diabetes Association organized trip. On the days that the others were busy attending their serious conference I get to go out and do some serious photography.

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Spotting a brief mention in a travel guide about a camel market I decided that this was the place to visit. Since it was off the normal tourist beat neither my driver or guide knew exactly how to find the place. There are many mysteries to driving in Cairo, but one of the best parts is that is always acceptable to stop and ask any stranger at the side of the road for directions. That is what we did. Every two kilometers the guide would roll down the window and inquire “Souq al-Gamaal”, “Souq al-Gamaal” and arms would point in one direction or another.

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An experienced camel trainer

The market outside of Cairo is more of a working class market where buyers are looking for working animals or perhaps ones that will end up on a dinner table somewhere.This was not the beauty pageant style of market in Saudi Arabia that was featured in the New York Times recently. (The opening quote is from the story written by Katherine Zoefh.) But the next time you are in Cairo roll down your window and shout “Souq al-Gamaal” for a sight that rivals the Giza Pyramids with none of the tourists.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

One response 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

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