Joel Ira Franck


In 1931, through some miracle, Esther Greenberg, a lovely bright-eyed 16 year old Polish girl who did not speak a word of English, arrived at the port in Danzig and boarded the BERENGARIA - perhaps the most exclusive luxury ocean liner in the world.  Esther descended into the depths of the ship into a cramped cabin in “STEERAGE”.  At night, diesel fumes pervaded the cabin, while during the day, Esther wandered the deck looking out at the infinite sea with its swells and whitecaps.  She wondered what fate awaited her in America.

Esther was accompanied by her sister and two brothers, her mother - Fanny and father - Mutya.  The family travelled from Horodetz, a small Jewish “shtetle” in central Poland - that traced its origins to the twelfth century.  It was then that Jews were welcomed in Poland, as they brought banking and commerce and enriched the kingdom.  How things had changed over a millennium.  The town was a small self-sustaining community with some economic connections to the outside.  Mutya was a shopkeeper, and accumulated a small degree of wealth - the store of value was Fanny’s dowry and jewelry - hidden in some down pillows.  When World War One came, the Greenberg’s fled, survived - barely - civilian bombardments, pogroms, and border guard acts of extortion.  Fortunately, tickets were acquired for the journey Odysseus took two thousand years before in search of new lands and rebirth.

Most of the Greenberg family could not embark on this passage and in the 1930’s - 1940’s were annihilated by the Nazi Holocaust.  The Greenberg family traced its own heritage back to a line of intellectuals and Jewish Rabbis in the Middle Ages.  Mutya, and his daughter Esther, and her brother Paul, carried that tradition of the critical importance of Thinking - Reason, Logic and Learning to this day.

As the Berengaria approached New York Harbor two weeks later, Esther was on deck - calm seas and bright warm sunlight were in abundance - in fact, the solar emissions were nearly blinding.  As the ship veered starboard around the tip of Manhattan, Esther suddenly became aware of what was nearly an indescribable sight to so many millions of tempest tossed huddled tired individuals yearning to breath free - The New Colossus of Rhodes -  The Wonder of the New World - The Statue of Lady Liberty.

Esther later described her first emotions at initially seeing this magnificent Lady - tears of joy flowed and dreams of a fruited future imbued her very soul.

Esther Greenberg was Joel Franck’s mother.  The family moved to Brooklyn - in a tenement common for the day - but for which no entitlement was demanded or expected.  All that was needed was the promise of Freedom and Possibility.  Mutya immediately embarked on a study of English and thence earned his “SMICHA” - his Divinity degree as a learned Jewish Rabbi.

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Byelorussia, Gedalia and Mishka Franck experienced similar vicissitudes and eventually also made it to America.  They arrived with their three sons including Harry, Isaac and Charlie. Gedalia opened a vegetable stand in Brooklyn, embarked on studies, and became a Talmudic scholar of the Ancient and Modern Jewish Law.  Gedalia followed in the tradition of a 700 year lineage of ancestral Jewish scholars.

A lasting memory of Dr. Franck is that of the weekly meetings of his two elderly grandfathers - Mutya and Gedalia plied their oversized copies of the Talmud - composed in Hebrew and Aramaic, these numerous volumes comprising commentaries on the Ancient Bible - uniquely offering debate and competitive interpretations.  Western law has some of its roots in these volumes.  Joel sat in awe, literally for weeks on end, as a youngster watching his grandfathers pound the table to passionately debate the meanings and significance of these amazing books.  Dr. Franck’s grandfather’s were the Original Originalists!

As teenagers, Esther met Harry - the Romance was unstoppable.  Their motto was drawn from King Solomon’s Song of Songs - “Ani L’dodi, V’dodi Li” - “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine”.

This couple - full of life, joined a Zionist group advocating for the creation of the State of Israel, with plans to emigrate to Palestine.  World War Two short circuited that lofty goal - but the family support for Israel is intransigent to this day.

Harry and Esther Franck raised Joel in a home in Queens, New York.  In an atmosphere of religious Jewish heritage, Joel was, along with his two older brothers - Herbert and Murray, molded in an atmosphere emphasizing the beauty of the mind and the endless possibilities of Life.  Reason and Logic were the base, knowledge was the energy source, and the home was filled with books from all points of view dealing with philosophy, religions, economics, psychology, law, and science.

Joel’s parents treasured these United States.  America was their adoptive country and Israel was their Biblical Heritage.  Irrespective of politics, Joel was imbued with sense of the purpose of America - in his parent’s eyes - to secure individual freedom and defend justice.  Virtually every night as a young child, Joel was singing patriotic songs of these United States as lullabies.  The family loved visiting historic sites across the Eastern United States from Williamsburg, Virginia up to Boston. At all of these sites, Joel lived out a childhood adventure, always wearing his Colonial tri-cornered hat.

The abode was filled with music, the emotionality generated by notes emanating from a high fidelity system designed and built by Harry - a self-educated electronic wizard of sorts.  Harry entered the world of fashion and developed the most successful Ladies Shoulder Pad factory of its time in Manhattan’s garment district.  Joel was introduced to this world early in his life, and as a young adolescent accompanied his father, with the closure of the factory, on his journey’s carrying bolts of fabric to design houses, trekking through heat, rain or snow.

These experiences left their indelible mark on Dr. Franck.  He is steeped in the world of Haute Couture - an inspiration to his photography.  Joel is involved with  fashion pageant shows and super-model photography; he is told his taste in fashion is impeccable and this is reflected in his photography.

Esther, while raising three children, was Harry’s devoted assistant and constant companion.  At age 40, Esther decided to carry on the intellectual tradition of her family and enrolled in Graduate School at the Hebrew Teacher’s College in Manhattan.  She became an accomplished Hebrew teacher, receiving many accolades.  Esther was indefatigable - even in her 80’s after uniquely surviving a devastating neurological illness, she was a member of three different book clubs and taught Biblical history and philosophy at her Jewish Temple.

As both sides of his family were survivors of the Holocaust, Joel’s upbringing was steeped in the mottos of “Never Forget” and “Never Again”, and the Biblical command “Justice - always seek Justice”.  Joel always took this to heart.  On a trip down to Washington in 1958 at age 6, Esther, Harry and Joel stopped en-route in Virginia at a diner for lunch.  As his parents opened the establishment’s door, Joel bravely barred the way - his parents were surprised and Joel expected a spanking.  Esther gently inquired - “Joelly - what is wrong?”.  Joel pointed to the sign on the window: “No bare feet; No t-shirts; No Niggers”.  At that early age Joel had already inherited a deep moral compass.  His parents smiled ear to ear, they left, and the story became part of the Franck family lore.

The Franck’s were headed down to Washington, D.C. in order to visit Harry’s older brother - Isaac Franck.  Isaac was a Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College, and a published authority on the seventeenth century philosopher Spinoza.  Professor Franck  contributed a historic legacy to Americas’s struggle for Civil Rights.  As the Director of the organization of the the Jewish Communities of Greater Washington, Isaac single handedly was responsible for the historic March on Washington, organizing many of the complex elements of the event - Professor Franck proudly stood on the podium with Dr. Martin Luther King as he delivered his remarkable poetic disquisition “I Have a Dream”.  Isaac contributed language from the Prophet Isaiah to President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.  Joel became close to his uncle in the 1970’s and remains so to his family to this day.

These family legacies are deeply imprinted in Dr. Franck’s Soul.  His passion for Justice and the plight of the oppressed has guided many of the directions of his life.  Dr. Franck has always held to the belief that one’s moral compass must guide one’s actions.  Thus, Joel has always fearlessly spoke out in the defense of the victims of tyranny in college classrooms, even when not “politically correct”.  He enlisted in the Air Force ROTC while at MIT during the Viet Nam war, prepared irrespective of politics, to go to avenge the death of a close friend who perished in that war.  Dr. Franck recently found Captain John Seel’s name on the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington.

Following in his Uncle’s footsteps, while in Medical School at Yale, Dr. Franck composed a speech for President Gerald Ford to remedy a gaff during the Presidential Debate, defending the rights and aspirations of the Captive Eastern European Nations oppressed by the Soviet Union.  The speech was actually delivered by the President and Joel was invited to the Inaugural Ball - unfortunately for that opportunity, Ford lost the election!

A seminal event in his life, occurred when Joel was 14 years old.  His older brother Murray became interested in the novels and philosophic works of Ayn Rand.  Joel was introduced to them by age 12, and devoured these cultural and life altering novels including the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  Ayn Rand was one of the most important and influential novelist-philosophers in history and was a cultural driving force, even influencing the highest levels of the United States government in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Her novels have sold over 100 million copies world wide, and the Book of the Month Club pronounced her novels as the world’s most influential published works after the Bible!

Joel was captivated by Ms. Rand’s benevolent sense of life and focus on Reason and Individual Freedom.  Already steeped in the Romantic classics courtesy of his parents, Heroism, in Joel’s eyes required Courage and the belief that the possible can be real.  Thus, the themes of Ms. Rand’s fiction and non-fiction resonated for Joel.

So at age 14, with parental permission, Joel, a cute but short kid, already familiar with the New York Subways, having commuted three hours daily to attend the Bronx High School of Science from Queens, ventured one weekday school night into midtown Manhattan to hear Ayn Rand speak.  This little guy, overloaded with school books and books on Free-Market economics and Philosophy he just purchased at the lecture, sat in the front row.  Ms. Rand noticed him, called him up to the dais, and when told by Joel that he could not afford the full tuition for the entire course on The Philosophy of Objectivism, replied “now you can”.  Awarded a full scholarship to the course, Joel became a personal student of Ayn Rand.  This great mind took him under her wing, shared a dinner, and for the next 16 years Joel maintained a close relationship with one of the greatest minds in human history.  These events are described in several biographies of Ayn Rand.

Objectivism is an all encompassing philosophy unifying many of the best elements of the Western tradition and affording much that is original revolutionary thought.  Joel became fascinated by the question posed to him by Objectivism as the the nature of Human Consciousness.  Thence, Joel embarked on his lifelong journey to investigate the biologic nature of consciousness and led to his deep lifelong interest in Neuroscience.

Enrolled at MIT, from which he graduated in three years, Joel embarked on laboratory investigations into the functions of the nervous system.  He continued Neurophysiological research as a Graduate Fellow at the Rockefeller University in New York, where he co-published a seminal study on the central nervous system function underlying Attention and Focus.

Joel decided that it was the Human Mind he was after and the Neurosurgery was the means of biologically understanding human consciousness.  Thus, he enrolled at the Yale University School of Medicine, earned his MD degree with Honors, and completed a complex published study that was among the very first demonstrations that the adult mammalian brain was organized on the basis of Plasticity - the ability to change, repair, and reorganize.  In the last several years that work has been at the foundation of developments applied to clinical Neurosurgery and Brain Repair.

It took seven hard years of training in the art and science of Neurosurgery at the Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York.  Working 120 hour weeks, and being subjected to the “Old School” of Residency training by some of the best but most unforgiving Neurosurgeons in the world, Dr. Franck achieved the highest recognition by his professors and colleagues.

It was during that period that Dr. Franck developed his medical ethic that is reflected in everything he accomplishes in life. He came to the conclusion that the relationship between patient and physician is built on a two thousand year old tradition - that relationship is an unbreakable contract.  In essence, in exchange for whatever compensation is agreed upon between physician and patient, Dr. Franck then becomes bound to that patient - no matter the effort, the success and failures, or personal issues in Dr. Franck’s life, the supreme obligation in this physician’s life is unquestionably to his patient.  

Residency training was an enlightening and in many regards, a joyous experience.  However, there was a brutal side to it.  Experiences were drilled into his soul that in instances he will fail the patient, for the pathology of the patient is incurable.  Joel learned the truth of the adage “if it does not kill you, it will make you stronger” and Dr. Franck was annealed in fire.

Dr. Franck went on to become Board Certified and receive many accolades and awards over his career.  He went into private practice in Maine for 21 years and thence in Florida for the last 13 years, and at age 68 is still going strong .

He is a true innovator.  Dr. Franck was the co-inventor of STarFix, a revolutionary method allowing a surgeon to reach the deepest targets in the brain and spine.  It has been used thousands of times for Deep Brain Stimulation.  Dr. Franck was awarded 14 United States and International Patents and two United States Gold Medals in Biotechnology.

Dr. Franck developed a novel outpatient operation on the cervical spine to definitively cure the disabling symptoms of whiplash injuries to the neck, including Migraine Headaches, Brain Fog, and Neck Pain.  He has operated on over 180 patients from across North America and Europe with phenomenal success.

He is an international speaker, having lectured across the United States, Canada, Israel, Sweden and the Cayman Islands, and has 92 scientific publications.

Joel developed an interest in Technology early on, also following in his father’s footsteps.  The logical structure of computer programming - long before Apps and Games - fascinated him, perhaps also an outgrowth from Objectivism’s emphasis on Logic.  Joel became the youngest programmer in IBM’s history at age 14; at age 16 wrote the program for the Insurance Services Organization that generated New York State’s automobile insurance rates; and at MIT personally met Dr. Charles Stark Draper - the inventor of Inertial Guidance for missiles, planes, and ships.  Joel began working every spare minute at the Draper Labs, which was responsible for the Apollo guidance system.  He developed complex programs, among which was one of the first that facilitated 3-D renditions of objects on a computer screen - a basis for everything we do now on a laptop.  Joel was fortunate to be present at every lunar landing from Apollo 14 to 17, all controlled by a little known Manned Spacecraft Center at the Draper Labs.  The suspense was agonizing, as each and every landing required quick thinking and remote programming by the brilliant engineers to rescue all those amazing landings on that New World from disaster.

Which finally brings us to the story of Joel’s abiding interest in Photography:

The origin of Dr. Franck’s passionate interest in photography originates with his love for Art - yet another influence of his parents and brothers.

As described, Joel was raised in home of knowledge and music - accompanying that was a great interest in visual art - painting the part  of his dad Harry.  One of Joel’s abiding memories of his childhood, was the day his father took him by subway, maybe at age 10, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art - wherein was exhibited the new acquisition of Rembrandt’s ARISTOTLE CONTEMPLATING THE HEAD OF HOMER.  Now it turns out, that as Joel became self-educated in philosophy, Aristotle became his intellectual hero, especially as influenced by Ayn Rand, on whose shoulders her ideas rested.  What is so psychologically uplifting for Joel, is that Aristotle is depicted, not as some elderly sage, but as a dashing pirate or adventurer - all consistent with Dr. Franck’s spirit.

Joel’s love of art was nurtured by his parents with visitation to numerous museums and art galleries.  He was further influenced by Ayn Rand, as Art is a crucial part of the human experience for her view of life.  At age 18, Joel embarked on a solo adventure to Europe, visiting seven countries and numerous museums.  He developed distinct favorites among the greats - actually too numerous to list.  Over these decades, as resources permitted, Dr. Franck began an extensive personal art collection.

Residing near St. Petersburg in Florida, Joel is privileged to live near the Dali Museum.  He as acquired 8 signed artist proof lithographs and several casted sculptures.  His favorite is “Columbus and the Discovery of America”.  

Joel also enjoys Impressionist Art - his favorite museum is the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.  Dr. Franck was delighted to obtain an original Maxmillian Luce (with the help of Chuck Huller - renown Art Dealer and Appraiser).

Over a thirty year period, Dr. Franck developed an extensive collection of Asian antiquities including porcelains and woodblock prints from Japan.  His most extensive collections include Chinese artifacts:  an amazing gold-filigree wall hanging possibly from the Ming Dynasty, a Dragon robe from the Qing dynasty, multiple vases and much more.

Dr. Franck’s proudest moment as relates to the world of Art, intersects with his love of these United States; an abiding respect for our military, whose soldiers hold their values with such profound intensity that they are willing to die for them; our history as a nation on the forefront of the external war of the Individual versus Tyranny; and two heart-rendering memories:

Joel had the honor of attending two military funerals and giving the Eulogy at one.  One occurred as Joel entered MIT.  His friend Captain John Seel, volunteered for Viet Nam and was killed one day after his plane touched down.  Dr. Franck treasures the American flag drooped on his coffin that Captain Seel’s wife gave him.  The second, about a decade ago was for a special operator killed in Afghanistan - a dear friend whose funeral was held at Dr. Franck’s Horse Farm in Maine.

As karma has it, Joel became an avid Polo player, participating in that death defying sport for 14 years, fracturing numerous bones but rarely missing a day of Neurosurgery!  He met Steven Lininsky, 15 years his elder, a remarkable polo player from Vermont, real estate developer, and extraordinary specialist in Antiques of all genres.  Steve came to the United States as a young child who actually survived a concentration camp in Lithuania.  His story is astonishing and inspiring.

Through a circuitous series of events Steve acquired one of the original six casted bronze replica statues of the United States Marine Corp Memorial - the Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima.  The statue ways over 400 pounds and stood nearly four feet tall with an American flag with 48 stars.  It is engraved with the sculptor - Felix De Weldon’s signature and the plaster version of it is seen in a photograph with the brilliant artist in the Felix de Weldon section of this website.

The sculpture Steve had was engraved with the number 3/6, as one such sculpture was casted, presumably for the family of each flag raiser - all killed during the battle.  Steve convinced Dr. Franck to go in with him 50/50.

Well as fate would have it, Steve Linisky fell off his horse during a polo game and fractured his neck.  Fortunately, there was no neurologic injury - and as unstoppable as he was Steve remounted his horse and attempted to keep playing.  He finally sought proper medical attention and was diagnosed with a complex multilevel cervical spine fracture.  Neurosurgical and Orthopedic Spine Surgeons unequivocally instructed him to terminate his polo adventures - which was unthinkable.  Further, he was informed there was a high probability of being wheelchair bound after surgery.

Steve approached Dr. Franck who was developing innovative approaches to problems like this.  A plan was developed to fuse the fractures in Steve’s neck from both the front and back of the spine.  The plan was to avoid a wheelchair and return Steve to polo.  Thus, a 13 hour operation was performed by Dr. Franck and after six months of consolidation of the front/back neck fusions, Steve returned to polo, pain free without any neurologic deficits.  The video of him again getting flipped off his horse, remounting and playing again without injury was testament for the polo community of Dr. Franck’s consummate skills.

There was a catch!  The payment to Dr. Franck for this extraordinary surgery was Steve’s half-share in the De Weldon sculpture.  The amazing piece was transported to Dr. Franck’s farm in Maine, wherein appraisers and historians examined it.  Dr. Franck expended innumerable efforts to find a suitable museum in which to place the sculpture as a contribution.  Oddly, that was a difficult task.

Finally, Dr. Franck discovered the Marine Corp Museum in Quantico, Virginia.  Contacting the Director, significant interest was voiced by the Museum staff in obtaining the sculpture for a permanent exhibit in the museum.  Consequently, a frame was built to secure the sculpture inside Dr. Franck’s truck and he and his wife Rachel drove fourteen hours from Maine, arriving at the Marine Base in Quantico at 2 am.  There was no provision for our arrival, therefore, we parked in a 7-11 and got a bit of sleep.  The next morning the Museum was opened for us at 6:00 am and the Museum Director and Commandant of the Marine Corp University greeted us to take possession of this treasure.  The excitement was palpable.  We were informed there were two copies of the sculpture in the White House and the whereabouts of the other three were unknown.

Later that day, a ceremony was officially held in which this sculpture was presented to the museum in honor of our dear friend who was killed in Afghanistan and was a former marine.  The sculpture now resides in a prominent location in the museum.

We contacted Chuck Huller who was truly touched in his heart by this story.  He himself is a Viet Nam war hero - a surviving member of the 82nd Airborne seriously wounded, who returned to duty to fight yet more battles against the onslaught of tyranny.  He has become a dear friend and gave us an original De Weldon sketch of the Marine Corp Memorial.


Dr. Franck has been steeped in photography since early childhood.  As with so many of the interests and avocations he developed, Joel followed in his father Harry’s footsteps.

Joel’s earliest memories of photography revolve around his dad’s passion for taking home movies using  his Super 8 MM movie camera and projector.  A treasure trove of such movies of Joel as a toddler and so much more was discovered by his older brother a decade ago and converted to VHS tapes, as the original 8 MM film rolls disintegrated over time.  These are classic joyous family movies from the early 1950’s to the 1970’s.

When Joel was about 10 years old, his father acquired a Minolta Autocord Twin Lens Reflex camera, and a slew of accessories.  Joel quickly learned how to use that classic medium format film camera, and both he and his dad took hundreds of pictures - primarily monochrome, due to the expense of color film.  A collection of classic pictures remains in Joel’s possession.

Along those lines, Joel recently discovered a voluminous collection of small monochrome images, some dating back to the turn of the twentieth century - these are amazing, as life, in both Europe and the United States, during a period spanning from the 1890’s through the 1940’s, was captured on film.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 descended onto the lunar surface, due to the extraordinary piloting skills and nerves of steel possessed by Neil Armstrong.  As he took the historic giant step for all mankind, Joel, a high school student, used the Minolta Autocord camera to take photographs off the TV screen and document the historic achievement.  Those medium format monochrome images remain awe-inspiring to this day.   

After graduating the Bronx High School of Science, Joel attended MIT, from which he graduated in three years with a pre-med degree in Life Sciences and strong minor in Theoretical Physics.    Joel’s fiancé gave him a Beseler Topcon 35 mm SLR camera for his graduation.  At that point “Joel was off to the races”!

Despite the expense of color print and slide film, during the years of his photography passion limited to the Topcon, Joel took over 10,000 photographs.  He began to experiment with filters and natural lighting, and captured both portraits, sports events, and amazing natural scenes on these media.  It is extraordinary that Joel was able to create such beautiful impressions with the sole use of one 35mm lens.  

Dr. Franck then graduated up to a series of Minolta 35 mm film cameras including a professional edition.  At least another 15,000 photographs were captured, with even more innovations in Dr. Franck’s technical expertise, using filters and lighting.  Joel’s two girls began active participation, first in Horse Jumping, and thence in Dressage - formal English riding, and achieved the Grand Prix level of pre-Olympic riding in their late teens - all captured on film by their father!  Amazing action pictures were the order of the day.

While at MIT, and then as a Graduate Fellow in Brain Science at the Rockefeller University in New York, Joel took a great interest in Scientific Photography.  His research focused on Brain function, and as such entailed complex dissections of the Central Nervous System, captured on film, via adaptors for connection of his camera to an operating microscope.  Extraordinary renditions of the complex structure of the brain were captured on film.

Dr. Franck subsequently attended the Yale University School of Medicine.  The remarkably original research he conducted on the functional reorganization of the adult mammalian brain after peripheral nerve injury was also captured in detail on film.

After graduating Yale, Dr. Franck spent seven years at the Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York in the Neurosurgical residency training program.  One of Joel’s intellectual heroes was Harvey Cushing, MD, the founder of modern Neurological Surgery in the early part of the twentieth century.  Professor Cushing was an extraordinary multi-talented individual - one of whom’s gift was creating visual art.  Cushing became known for, among many other accomplishments, his remarkable renditions, using Pen and Ink, of nearly all of his thousands of surgical cases.  He made a point of creating detailed drawings of every operation immediately after completion of the case.  Dr. Franck followed in his footsteps, using more up to date technology - thus, Dr. Franck learned the art of intra-operative microphotography.  He took hundreds of photographs of the most complex of brain and spine operations through the operating microscope with camera adaptors.  He could easily create a teaching library with his collection.

And to this day, when applicable, professional videographers will film Dr. Franck’s Neurosurgical operations.  A collection of PowerPoint presentations for teaching cases has been created.

Among Dr. Franck’s many adventurous avocations, SCUBA diving stands out for him as a unique activity that combines science, technology, art, poetry, beauty, awe, potential serious danger, medicine, and Neuroscience.  Joel began diving in 1973 while at MIT.  He underwent a rigorous training and certification program with a Navy SEAL as his mentor.  For over 15 years, his diving experience was limited to experiencing the cold, dark waters off New England.

In 1989, Dr. Franck ventured down to Andros Island in the Bahamas, the world’s third largest barrier reef.  Diving in warm water with perfect natural light was almost a religious experience - Joel made his acquaintance with some magnificent coral - he “spoke” to his evolutionary cousin, explaining in awe that they shared 90% of their DNA!  Joel immediately realized that he was compelled to capture this new world on film.

He acquired a Nikonos V - a manual 35 mm underwater film camera, with multiple lenses, lighting, and framing devices; took a comprehensive course in the Caribbean with a professional photographer, and commenced an unstoppable phase of his photographic career.  Diving throughout the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and the South Pacific islands of Palau, Joel has taken thousands of beautiful images of the most amazing mammals including whales and dolphins, to dozens of species of gorgeous fish.  He has caught life threatening experiences involving sharks and underwater whirlpools on film.  His greatest passion is for macrophotography - Joel loves to capture detailed shots of the most colorful interesting “little critters” in their natural environment.  Night dives are also a great atmosphere for photographing the most interesting of creatures - often almost other-worldly in appearance.


In the fall of 2017 Dr. Franck decided to pursue the art and science of photography with a verve as never before.  He was inspired by his opportunity to photograph an outstanding model and photograph Fashion Pageants, including the New York Fashion Week in 2018.

Dr. Franck acquired a Leica SL full frame digital camera and Leica lenses (24-90 mm and 90-280mm).  As Leica is the “Ferrari of Cameras” (and carries similar comparative costs!), Dr. Franck entered into the world of digital photography with laser focus and the intent to create uniquely beautiful images of the world and its women and the magnificent creatures that inhabit our planet.

As Joel’s interest and activities in Digital Photography soared, he acquired a Leica CL and Lumix SR1 cameras, along with additional Leica lenses, including a 50 mm F1.4 Portrait lens, a macro lens and 18mm wide angle lens.  Complex filter systems are utilized by Joel.  Most recently, Dr. Franck designed and constructed a professional studio with advanced digital lighting for portrait shots.  He is adept as post-shoot editing with advanced software systems.

Dr. Franck is a consummate nature photographer and highly creative in his monochrome street photography.  Since acquiring his collection of Leica cameras, he has traveled with a Leica photography group to Iceland and the Lofoten Islands in Norway near the Arctic Circle, on photographic expeditions that can only be described as heavenly.  Shoots in Cartagena-Colombia, New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Zion National Park in Utah have been performed as well as throughout Florida.  A photographic adventure in Kyrgyzstan in central Asia, with a renown National Geographic photographer is scheduled for August of 2021.

Dr. Franck simply brings his soul and his bright vision of life, into his images.  When capturing a woman or child, Joel uses light and spontaneous posing to bring out the essence of the subject.  The tilt of the head, focus of the eyes, the angle of light and so much more contribute to what becomes a work of art tinctured with technology.


Having now taken over 7500 digital images and selectively editing them, Dr. Franck has entered the ranks of among the worlds most talented photographers and has achieved significant WORLD recognition.

Commencing in April of 2019, Joel signed onto an ongoing daily INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION involving millions of the world’s photographers, from virtually every country on the planet, called GURUSHOTS.COM. Participants include many of the world’s most accomplished and famous photographers.

Every day, several CHALLENGES, with a focus on specific subjects, are issued by a group of the top talent called Gurus.  The participant enters relevant photographs which are immediately posted and evaluated by all participants.  Each photo is voted upon by the members - a requirement is that a photographer must vote for his competition’s photos in the given challenge, in order to obtain his own votes.

Various categories of achievement are awarded to the participants.  There are nine LEVELS from Rookie to Guru.  In just eight months Dr. Franck was recognized as a Master in world competition, just one notch below Guru.

Competing against hundreds of thousands of photographs each week, Joel has already garnered over 2 million worldwide follower votes, with many of his 750 photos earning greater that 50,000 votes each.

Joel’s photographs have been competitively selected for exhibition in 56 International competitions in major cities including:  Stockholm, Berlin, Edinburgh, Montreal, Mexico City, Barcelona, Bucharest, Washington, Athens, Sofia, Paris, Vienna, London, Vancouver, Lisbon, just to name a few.

At least 13 of Joel’s photos have been published in Online Digital Photography Magazines - again competitively selected from hundreds of thousands of internationally submitted pictures.  These publications include: Fstoppers, Photography Week, Dhodo Online Macroshots Magazine, Photoplus Magazine, PetaPixel Magazine, and Digital Camera Magazine.

Dr. Franck’s photographs have earned over 5,360 Challenge Achievements, against hundreds of thousands of pictures entered worldwide each week.  These have included 7 Guru Picks, 1 top 10 photo, 35 top 100 photos, and thousands of other levels of accolades.