Mark Besh - Life Remodeled - Detroit, MI
I’d like you to meet Mark Besh, big league marketing professional, inspirational leader and fellow Life Remodeled photographer. And he smiles continuously, especially while making photographs.
Mark and I met years ago while making the big ‘X’ photo at the start of TEDxDetroit. He was the guy herding the mass of humanity into the shape of an X, so all I had to do was frame the photo and press the shutter. While I might have been the lead photographer, charged with getting a legion of pro photographers to donate a day of shooting for the benefit our fair city; Mark’s was the more challenging assignment to start the day.
After a couple of years, playing ‘you herd and I’ll press the shutter’ Mark casually asked if I might help him with a little project he was working on called Life Remodeled. I felt like I owed him, so I asked for details. He told me it was a six-day project in a Detroit neighborhood anchored by a high school (in this case Cody HS on the far west side). He told me there would be maybe 10,000 volunteers doing cleanup, paint up and fix up for a whole week, but I didn’t have to be there for all six days, just as much time as I could afford. Sounded great.
I showed up early Monday morning, maybe 7:40 for an 8:00am start. The parking lot had maybe two cars, mine made 3. This thing was a bust, was my first thought. I walked across a large empty field toward a couple of GM coaches I saw arriving, first two, then three and four. Pretty soon all the passengers were getting off the buses, and heading straight for some tents I had overlooked when I arrived. I shot some photos of the folks getting off the buses. And as I turned to follow, I now noted the parking area was now about half full. When I got to the tent, I found Mark and received my first of many Life Remodeled t-shirts. He explained the LR project to me, and I wandered off to make pictures. That lasted till about noon, but I returned for a couple of hours later in the week. I was impressed by how much work 10,000 volunteers can do.
Fast forward about 5 years, and I’m now the lead photographer for Life Remodeled. Mark has been promoted to management. We are still recording the LR efforts during the six-day project and a few fund-raising events held during the year around metro Detroit. And I’m still amazed by the energy, and smile, that Mark brings to this effort.