When we first sat down with Entertainment Tonight (ET) anchor Mark Steines in his office on the newly built ET lot in October 2008, we had no idea what to expect. The premise of the meeting was that ET could potentially do some kind of a book project with Blurb and maybe even feature us on their show (the highest rated entertainment show in the world!). We were, of course, flattered to be considered. But having some experience with the Hollywood set, my expectations were appropriately tempered.
What happened next was magical, and inspiring.
Mark spent almost four hours with us, walking us around the set on a personal tour, introducing us to his people, and sharing with us his vision for an upcoming project that sounded at the very least ambitious, and at most impossible. He told us of his plans to travel to Sierra Leone on a medical mission, photograph the journey, and publish a Blurb book that he could sell to raise money for the cause. He even had the vision for the launch party, down to the set layout and the music to accompany his photography presentation.
This was October 2008; the trip was to take place the following April. Even with Mark being one of the most sincere people I’ve ever met, I maintained my tempered expectations. This is Hollywood. This is a long project. Lots can happen between now and April. And then the book has to be made …
Cut to May 2009. Mark’s office. He’s back from Sierra Leone, with 10,000 photographs.
A few months and many long hours of Photoshop, design work, and scrutiny later, and here we are. Mark’s book, “See the Light, A Passage to Sierra Leone,” is now available in the Blurb Bookstore, as both a 10×8 Standard Landscape book, and a 13×11 Large Landscape book, with 100% of the profits going directly to the Lighthouse Medical Missions. The official launch party takes place later this month on the ET set. It’s all real, thanks to Mark’s vision and drive, and his willingness to make it real.
Mark is one of the most genuine, passionate, and talented people we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Please check out his book, and support this wonderful cause (his video blog about the book can be seen here). We’re honored to be involved in bringing this project to life, and we thank Mark and Lighthouse Medical Missions for the opportunity.
Below is just one of the incredible spreads in Mark’s book. Mark’s team saw unbelievable poverty, heartbreaking sickness, and desperation. They also, however, saw inexplicable joy and sincere gratitude. And somehow, he captured it all on film.