The Macrocosm of Mark McInnis

A look at how and where one gelid-eyed lensman plies his trade.

Light / Dark

Twenty-two pages of TSJ 25.6 are devoted to a portfolio of photography from Bend, Oregon’s Mark McInnis. There’s some satisfaction in seeing his efforts printed on folded forms of high-grade FSC paper and not merely slammed on a scrolling social media feed. His work deserves quiet study and immersion, not emojis and platitudinous throat-oysters like “life goals” and “so inspirational!!!” in a comments section. Indeed, if our collective fathers and grandpas somehow discovered we were spending hours nancing around on social surf feeds, I suspect that they might tap the ash off their Lucky Strikes, square their stances, and backhand us like god’s own thunderclap.

Back to McInnis: He is, to my recollection, the first surf photographer to truly ply his trade in the Pacific Northwest. He won’t even go so far as to call it that, preferring the Lake-Poets-sounding “Cascadia.” Local consideration—preach it. He plows through the dripping ferns and nettle, stepping onto black sand beaches redolent of spruce sap and bear sign, sea stacks and flotsam redwood bisecting the wave forms, and it’s here that he frames his pin-sharp compositions. It’s a world we’ll likely never surf, and that’s a measurable amount of the appeal. For the video above we tapped filmmaker Matt Kleiner, who pointed his rig north for a look at McInnis’ operation. —Scott Hulet