Iconic Surf Photographer Loses Everything in Holiday Farm Fire

Magicseaweed

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Updated 27d ago

You would have come across the intricate work of surf photographer Mark McInnis before. After studying under the tutelage of Chris Burkard, McInnis went it alone, snapping some of the most memorable surf scenes from across the globe.

But now, Mark's in need of some help. He recently lost his home and nearly everything he owned in the Holiday Farm Fire.

From family heirlooms, to his digital and film archives, to the home itself – it's all gone. In the wake of the devastation, Chris Burkard set up a GoFundMe. “The harsh reality that Mark’s cameras and entire library of images and backups were all set ablaze is a learning lesson for any creative person, especially when your livelihood depends on it,” wrote Burkard. “My hope is that we can give back to Mark to get him back on his feet and hopefully repay the joy that he has given all of us through his photographs.”

“The epicentre. Every dog has his day and this was this dog’s day.”

“The epicentre. Every dog has his day and this was this dog’s day.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

Can can also purchase some of Mark's artwork online. But have a peep with the chat we had with Mark a few weeks ago to get the juices flowing.

Home: Oregon

Years shooting: 12, professionally.

“Everyone always says, ‘How could you drive away from that?!’ Well, I surfed for hours on end during this run of wind and waves. Even a frothy old dog has to take a break every now and then.”

“Everyone always says, ‘How could you drive away from that?!’ Well, I surfed for hours on end during this run of wind and waves. Even a frothy old dog has to take a break every now and then.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

How did you get into photography
I was just looking for an easy “A” in high school and a girl I had a crush on was taking the course. She asked if I wanted to take it with her. Her mom actually taught the course so I figured it was a win/win. Little did I know that I was going to fall in love with photography more than the girl. Ever since then, it has continued to be one of my biggest passions in life.

"Going through and captioning this images is kind of making me chuckle because it paints such an unrealistic picture. This wave breaks, but it’s usually pretty stormy, rainy and fickle. But when the sun comes out and the winds are light, it really is a sight to behold. Especially from the water.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

Must-have pieces of equipment for trips
I always bring two camera bodies. It’s imperative to have a backup. I can’t tell you how many times my main body has gone down on a trip from bad weather or flooding a housing or whatever. It just happens. So two bodies is a must. Also water housing, 24-70, 70-200, 100-400 and some sort of primes. Usually a 55mm and 85mm.

Career path
Well, I started solely focused on shooting surfing, which was — and continues to be — incredible. It’s a huge passion, but the the money is slim so I’ve been fortunate enough to transition into shooting a bit more men’s and women’s lifestyle and fashion. It has been an awesome challenge and I really do enjoy the work. It’s different than standing on the beach or swimming in the ocean photographing your buddies, but it’s still incredible to collaborate with people and achieve a collaborative end goal. I really dig it.

“When a rare winter SSW swell shows up with offshore winds, what’s normally blown out garbage looks like this.”

“When a rare winter SSW swell shows up with offshore winds, what’s normally blown out garbage looks like this.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

Biggest influence
It’s funny. When I decided to be a surf photographer, I didn’t know much about the industry side of things. I came home and grabbed a big legal pad expecting to write down the names of all the surf photographers that inspire me, but after sorting through dozens and dozens of websites, I only had two names written down: Jeremy Koreski and Chris Burkard. I really saw something in their work that I identified with. And now, further down the line in my career, people like Daniel Russo, Cole Barash, Ben Moon, Russell Holliday and Mike Borchard keep me fired up.

“This big landscape shot was taken on another Nelscott Reef contest day. Like I said, I can’t really be bothered with contests. I’m an introvert and all of the commotion and craziness gives me too much anxiety. So I just went for a hike instead.”

“This big landscape shot was taken on another Nelscott Reef contest day. Like I said, I can’t really be bothered with contests. I’m an introvert and all of the commotion and craziness gives me too much anxiety. So I just went for a hike instead.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

“I have no idea how I got an empty lineup of this wave on a day this good. What you don’t see is the 20 plus people out the back.”

“I have no idea how I got an empty lineup of this wave on a day this good. What you don’t see is the 20 plus people out the back.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

“In all reality, it’s a peeling closeout…but it sure is pretty! And the human-to-wave ratio looks about right, too.”

“In all reality, it’s a peeling closeout…but it sure is pretty! And the human-to-wave ratio looks about right, too.”

© 2020 - Mark McInnis

Article originally appeared on Surfline