Posts Tagged ‘Leftfield Pictures’

Our Bravest: A Salute to Veterans

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

 My Photo Session with Disabled Veterans from Our Bravest

Our Bravest Composite FullBehind the camera, my own assumptions and comfort zone can be rattled. In honor of Veterans Day, I offer this story about one of those occasions.

 

An Unusual Pitch

The project started out as so many do—a pitch over the phone. In early spring of this year, a long-time client, Theresa Fisher of CCA Global in Manchester NH (whom I really like!), rang me up and ran through the typical pitch I’d heard a least a dozen times. But my ears perked when she mentioned a “public service project.” I’ve made a point over the years to seek out public service projects, but my migration from still photography to television has spread me a little thin.

I was already primed to agree when the client sweetened the deal with a few more details. I can’t recall the entire conversation—my ADD/multi-tasking brain can only absorb so much—but a few choice phrases stuck out:

“—Fourth of July weekend—”  “—see the fireworks—” “—in New York City—”  “—put you up in a hotel—”

Theresa knew exactly how to whet my appetite. What self-respecting photographer wouldn’t say yes to this?

However, it was only after an emphatic “YES!” that I came to terms with what I had just agreed to. The realization hit me square in the face. I’d signed on to shoot portraits for an organization called Our Bravest, a non-profit that builds Smart Homes for catastrophically injured veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In other words, the types of veterans Our Bravest works with include burn victims and double and triple amputees.  I had never heard of Our Bravest.

As I set the phone down, my heart sank.

Exposing My Discomfort

You might be asking why the sinking heart. What was my issue? To be honest, lack of exposure. I’m not from a military family. No contemporary of mine is or has been in the military. I’ve never even met anyone disabled.

My mind raced, envisioning the injuries, the scars, the missing limbs. I’m squeamish to boot. I’m the kind of person who switches channels and looks the other way whenever I see something upsetting. I can’t even get my blood drawn without averting my eyes.  So imagining the day of the shoot, meeting these veterans…it made me – uncomfortable – to say the least!

But what could I do? There was no way I could reject the client’s offer. Theresa (Senior Vice President,Visual Merchandising and Branding) has always been a great supporter of mine. I’d committed myself to the project, and that was that.

 

Shifting the Focus

On an early Saturday morning in New York City, the day of the shoot for Our Bravest, my assistant Alex Mateo and I set up a studio in a function room in the hotel. I brought Alex because he’d done a tour of duty in the Air Force, and I thought someone on my team should have something in common with today’s subjects from Our Bravest.

When the first man to be photographed appeared, he rolled into the room on a motorized wheelchair. My heart quickened, and my equipment felt heavy and slick in my sweaty palms.

When I’m anxious, I become super efficient. I try to control everything I can, while I can, knowing that at any moment, I could lose any semblance of control I tried to cling to.

As the veteran, a triple amputee, approached, I felt that control slipping away. I hardly knew what to say, but the veteran didn’t need an introduction. As if sensing my nervousness, he introduced himself with an apology. “Sorry I’m late,” he said, slapping the arm of his wheelchair playfully. “This thing only goes about eight miles per hour. So traffic was pretty tough to get through.”

Without warning, I burst out laughing. And so did he. It wasn’t even that funny of a joke, but that wasn’t the point. The point was this man, who had gone through so much, used humor to snap me out of myself.

I had been so caught up in my own uneasiness, I didn’t bother addressing the truth. America’s veterans are us. We’re all the same. I didn’t need Alex to share something in common with them to make the day run smoother. We all share similarities, be it art, family, or a little self-effacing humor.

Any discomfort I had entering the studio dissolved immediately. For the remainder of the shoot, good banter and wit united us, and my empathy for the men and women who sacrifice themselves for this country blossomed. The resilience of the human spirit transformed me, and, thankfully, I will never be the same.

 

Special thanks to Theresa Fisher at CCA Global, Frank Siller and Paola Tornabene at Our Bravest for this great opportunity, James Eves for his great retouching, and Alex Mateo for his steady support, and Rhen Wilson for his superb editing skills.  

 

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ICE HOLES – Alex Sledding

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

ICE HOLES

Alex Sledding

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

Alex Plummer & Wade Bigelow on the Sled

Alex Plummer & Wade Bigelow on the Sled

Alex Plummer & Wade Bigelow on the Sled

Shot on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, February 8th, 2014 on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire.   This was taken during the filming of Episode 104- “Party on Ice”. Alex Plummer is a difficult person to get to hold still long enough to take a picture.  He’s hyper, both in actions and words.  He’s like a kinetic energy machine, always doing something.  Sometimes even fishing!     Alex has a big spirit and is a kind soul, open and unguarded! .  A self-admitted “hugger”, he is welcoming and kind to strangers, which is a huge aspect of his personal appeal.  Then of course, there’s the wild side of the person whom is referred to by his friends as “AP”.  I’ve never seen Alex let anything get in the way of a good time – ever!  For Alex, downtime is just a breath in-between adventures!  He plays hard and doesn’t take any of it too seriously.  His attitude is perfect for his age and place in life.  He’s refreshing and has been a pleasure to work with since the day we met!  – The show airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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ICE HOLES – Kahtoola to the Rescue

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

ICE HOLES

 

 Kahtoola to the Rescue

MICROspikes!!

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

This photograph taken on location on the set during the filming of ICE HOLES Episode 102 – “Now We’re Cookin” by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel.  It was taken on  Sunday, January 19th, 2014 on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith New Hampshire. Day 3 of shooting was my first day on-set .  It was a strange weather day. 51F with a warm misting rain was not the weather one typically associates with January or ice fishing.  It was miserable for the crew and was creating havoc for the equipment.  Not to mention that there was virtually no traction for the crew or cast!  Noise Boys Production Audio Recordest MacAulay Flynt had already taken a hard fall by the time I arrived on Lake Winnipesaukee.  I however was not having this problem! That night I wrote an email to Danny Giovale, the President & CEO of [addlink url=”http://www.http://kahtoola.com/” text=”Kahtoola”].  They make what are called [addlink url=”http://kahtoola.com/product/microspikes” text=”MICROspikes”].  They are like the crampons that are used for scaling glaciers, but easier to get on and off!  I wrote in-part:

“We are at the very beginning of an 8-week shoot that will bring is to some of the most popular ice fishing derbies in North America including the Brainerd Jaycees ICE FISHING EXTRAVAGANZA, the largest in North America!  (See attached press release)  I wondering if you view this as an is an opportunity to show tens of thousands of ice fishing enthusiasts all over North America and potentially millions of viewers of the series how the pros negotiate the perils of walking on ice.  I am writing to ask you for MICROspikes for our entire crew and cast to be worn throughout the shoot.  I’m hoping you can see the benefits.”

ICE HOLES Show Runner  sporting a pair of Kahtoola’s MICROspikes®

ICE HOLES Show-runner Mark Therrien sporting a pair of Kahtoola’s MICROspikes®

Mr Giovale came through with MICROspikes for our entire cast & crew!  Many many thanks to you Danny.  MICROspikes were just what the crew needed !

ICE HOLES - Kahtoola to the Rescue

ICE HOLES – Kahtoola to the Rescue

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All Images on this site are copyrighted material of © Steve Marsel Studio, Inc. & Steve Marsel Studio LLC D/B/A Steve Marsel Studio. Unauthorized Use is Strictly Prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ICE HOLES – Alex Trapped!

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

ICE HOLES

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

Alex Plummer “trapped”!

ICE HOLES - Alex Plummer "trapped"!

ICE HOLES – Alex Plummer “trapped”!

Shot on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, February 8th, 2014 on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire.   This was taken during the filming of Episode 104- “Party on Ice”. Alex Plummer is a difficult person to get to hold still long enough to take a picture.  He’s hyper, both in actions and words.  He’s like a kinetic energy machine, always doing something.  Sometimes even fishing!     Alex has a big spirit and is a kind soul, open and unguarded! .  A self-admitted “hugger”, he is welcoming and kind to strangers, which is a huge aspect of his personal appeal.  Then of course, there’s the wild side of the person whom is referred to by his friends as “AP”.  I’ve never seen Alex let anything get in the way of a good time – ever!  For Alex, downtime is just a breath in-between adventures!  He plays hard and doesn’t take any of it too seriously.  His attitude is perfect for his age and place in life.  He’s refreshing and has been a pleasure to work with since the day we met!  – The show airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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All Images on this site are copyrighted material of © Steve Marsel Studio, Inc. & Steve Marsel Studio LLC D/B/A Steve Marsel Studio. Unauthorized Use is Strictly Prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Steve Marsel Studio . 561 Windsor Street A204, Somerville MA 02143 617.718.7407 | 888.254.6505
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ICE HOLES – Josh & Donk!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

ICE HOLES

ICE HOLES – Josh & Donk!

Behind the Scenes with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

ICE HOLES - Josh & Donk!

ICE HOLES – Josh & Donk!

ICE HOLES – Josh & Donk!

Shot on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith New Hampshire.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, January 18th, 2014 on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith New Hampshire.  This was taken during the filming of ICE HOLES Episode 102 – “Now We’re Cookin” It’s a winter outdoor shoot so no one should be surprised when you wake up and see snow falling.  And yet, somehow the conditions and the job at hand don’t seem to jibe with each other.  This is a shot of Joshua & Donk in front of Joshes new and outrageous bob-house.  I tip my hat to the crew who came back day after day to these “less than idea” conditions and gave it their all.  It takes a great work ethic, and a lot of heart!  I learned so much from the crew and I’m deeply grateful! ICE HOLES airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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ICE HOLES – Minnesota Cover-Up!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

ICE HOLES

Minnesota Cover-Up!

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

Steve Marsel - ICE HOLES, Minnesota Cover-Up

Steve Marsel – ICE HOLES, Minnesota Cover-Up

Shot on Gull lake, Brainerd, Minnesota.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, January 25th, 2014 on Gull lake in Brainerd, Minnesota.   This was taken during the filming of ICE HOLES Episode 108 – “Minnesota Freezout. I don’t think I will ever be able to convey through a still photo the ind=credible pain one feels when the temperature 0s -20F and the wind is blowing!     This is a photo of cast member Alex Plummer.  Notice how little skin is exposed to the air.  You’re probably saying he’s OK, look at how bundled up he is.  WRONG.  There is virtually  o way to protect yourself from these frigid temperatures!     It’s really painful.   I’m hoping that when you look at this photo, you have a clue about just how cold it was!  ICE HOLES airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit  [addlink url=”http://www.stevemarselstudio.com” text=”Steve Marsel Studio”]

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ICE HOLES – Alex’s Jump

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

ICE HOLES

ICE HOLES – Alex’s Jump

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

 Alex Jumps over a bob-house to settle a bet!

Alex Jumps over a bob-house to settle a bet!

Shot on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, March 1st, 2014 on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire.   This was taken during the filming of Episode 107 – “Going Big”. Alex takes his love of extreme sports to the next level when he attempts to jump a bob-house on his snowboard to settle a bet the he and Wade have made with Josh, Todd, and Wob.   It’s a very dangerous move, but something that Alex has done before.  With pride on the line, Alex and Wade pull out all the stops to wow the crowds and silence their fishing buddies.  There’s a lot at stake here, and our boys will stop at nothing to prove their points!  This is an amazing episode, proving once again that when it comes to the ice fishing, it really NOT about the fish!  ICE HOLES airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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ICE HOLES – Alex’s Posse

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

ICE HOLES

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

Steve Marsel- ICE HOLES - Alex's Posse
ICE HOLES – Alex’s Posse

ICE HOLES – Alex’s Posse

Shot on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, March 1st, 2014 on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire.   This was taken during the filming of Episode 107 – “Going Big”. Wob and Todd spend hours digging a massive ice hole in hopes to get ahead in the competition. Alex takes his love of extreme sports to the next level when he attempts to jump a bob-house on his snowboard; while Wob and Todd try to out-fish Josh and Donk’s high tech camera gear by digging a giant hole in the ice.   There’s a lot at stake here, and our boys will stop at nothing to prove their points!  This is an amazing episode, proving once again that when it comes to the ice fishing, it really NOT about the fish!  ICE HOLES airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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All Images on this site are copyrighted material of © Steve Marsel Studio, Inc. & Steve Marsel Studio LLC D/B/A Steve Marsel Studio. Unauthorized Use is Strictly Prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ICE HOLES – Minnesota Freez-out!

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

ICE HOLES

Minnesota Freez-out!

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

© 2014 Steve Marsel, ICE HOLES Minnesota Freezout

© 2014 Steve Marsel, ICE HOLES Minnesota Freezout

Shot on Gull lake, Brainerd, Minnesota.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, January 25th, 2014 on Gull lake in Brainerd, Minnesota.   This was taken during the filming of ICE HOLES Episode 108- “Minnesota Freezout. One of the very few photos I took at this location that does not focus on our cast or crew.  This is just one of those things that presents itself to you.  It was begging to be shot.  It would be irresponsible to not take the shot!   The ultimate insult when you’re standing outside and it’s -17F is that you have to pee!  It is the ultimate inconvenience!    I actually made a conscious choice to not drink water.  I felt that given the choice, I would just rater be dehydrated!   I’m hoping that when you look at this photo, you have a clue about just how cold it was!  ICE HOLES airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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ICE HOLES – Minnesota Discomfort

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

ICE HOLES

Minnesota Discomfort

On Location with ICE HOLES Series Creator Steve Marsel

Steve Marsel- ICE HOLES Minnesota Discomfort

ICE HOLES Minnesota Discomfort

Shot on Gull lake, Brainerd, Minnesota.

This photograph taken on location on the set of National Geographic Channel’s ICE HOLES by Series Creator & Executive Producer Steve Marsel  Saturday, January 25th, 2014 on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minnesota.   This was taken during the filming of ICE HOLES Episode 108- “Minnesota Freezout”. I hate the cold.  I mean, I REALLY hate the cold.  This will be a recurring theme throughout my ICE HOLES blog entries.  My trip to Brainerd Minnesota for the filming of episode 108 “Minnesota Freezout” brought new light to what it means to “freeze” – literally!  I knew I was in trouble while in the process of renting a car at the Minneapolis Airport.  The woman told me that it was about to get really cold and did I want an emergency survival kit for the car “just in case”??  I asked how cold it was right now?  He replied that it was only -17F!  But it was supposed to get REALLY COLD this coming weekend!    OMG!!!   ICE HOLES airs Fridays on National Geographic Channel. For more of Steve Marsel’s Photography, please visit Steve Marsel Studio

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