Michael Hansel likes to get behind the words to the meaning of the words, and it seems that everything he has done, culminating in his work as a professional photographer that lets him captures what is not spoken aloud, called on that very ability to get past words. He has a lot to say and a lot of ways of making others valuable and attractive and that, by the way, is the essence of his photography, capturing the best of a real moment, a conversation or a record of a friendship.
He is a self-admitted puzzle. He does not care for small talk, preferring as he does to get to the crux of any issue, which is why he likes conversation with women. As the photographer for a recent production of The Vagina Monologues he got to be that fly on the wall and no surprise that he was fascinated with what were women’s priorities because his own are significant. He is a smart, talented, open, genial man who does not dwell on the negative for any significant length of time, although he smiles as he says that he understands the value of a short pity party once in a while. A kind talented open-hearted listener who cares about people. Direct. No guile. Trustable. He knows how to have a good time and bring others into that orbit. The long and short of it is that, in addition to everything else, he’s fun to be around.
Growing up had its difficulties with time in Shriner’s Hospital and painful surgeries to correct a genetic condition that caused his bones to break easily, and even with having spent half his youth in the hospital, Michael is at his core, a gleeful person defined not by his condition but by his endless abilities, education, and experience. He says about his vast and varied proficiency that having learned how to do things as opposed to just the theory of things gave him instant value. With a college music scholarship and a serious music education behind him he played classical jazz and classical music as a drummer in a band and then with an orchestra. He was a script reader. He has done some acting. He directed a political thriller. He worked in the closed caption industry. His two college degrees are in audio and in television production. He was a script reader. He has done some acting. He directed a political thriller. He worked in the closed caption industry. His two college degrees are in audio and in television production.
Because he is around disabled communities, and he respects various viewpoints, he likes to know what people prefer to be called. At one of his acting auditions, one of the casting people said “disabled,” and a woman answered by saying “I am not disabled, I am handi-capable.” To hear Michael, in his own cheerful voice and with such easy candor talk about looking at what life has to offer is a lovely lesson in keeping priorities straight.
His love letter? Maybe to his mother or any family member who loved him. His Grandma, when she passed away, in her drawer right next to her bed was a picture of him as a boy in the hospital on the back of which Michael had written, “I am doing fine” a love letter in its own right, because he knew that is what his grandmother needed to know. He did it for her, and she clung to it forever. No surprise at all. In the world of what stationery to use, remember that the back of a photograph is a perfect vehicle for carrying memories, love and comfort to last a lifetime.