LONG BEACH — Damian Mulinix, who died in March at age 42 following a stroke, started working for the Chinook Observer in various capacities in 2002. A self-taught photographer, his images make a unique contribution to the visual heritage of Washington state.
Mulinix was honored several times as Washington State Photographer of the Year. He won literally scores of state, regional and national awards.
While he thoroughly enjoyed professional accolades, Mulinix's greatest personal satisfaction came from "nailing" photo assignments — coming back to the office with images that accurately and insightfully captured the essence of life in our beautiful, fun and eccentric coastal communities.
It is with great feelings of pride and loss that we present only a few of the remarkable Damian Mulinix photos published over the years in the pages of the Chinook Observer. The depth of his portfolio is so great that we could easily select entirely different sets of photos many times over.
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The Chinook Indian Nation’s First Salmon Ceremony — this one in 2013 — is a subject of great visual and spiritual interest.
Humor and pathos — in this instance, 4H kids caring for their chickens while a boy picked his nose — was a theme of Mulinix’s work.
The Three-Courses Challenge cross country race — this one in September 2010 — is fun for competitors and photographers alike. Mulinix looked forward to it each year.
Ballerinas relished the simple joys of movement in this 2012 image.
A little clam digger ran in the surf in 2012.
A couple comforted one another in 2007 after the loss of a home on Washaway Beach. Mulinix documented the ravages of coastal erosion for 15 years.
County fairs were one of Mulinix’s favorite subjects. This image of a pie-eating contest in Skamokawa was one of photos he selected as among his best in 2007.
Peninsula residents got a scare in March 2011 when a lowland evacuation was ordered following a serious earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Mulinix captured this image of a woman and her dog on high ground in Ilwaco.
“Hard news” photography — on this assignment, a Caspian tern carrying a fish on East Sand Island — was one of Mulinix’s strong suits.
Children playing in the sand were a highlight of a Long Beach SandSations Events Mulinix covered about a decade ago.
This photo of a young rodeo rider being comforted by his father was honored in 2014 with the Miles Turnbull Photo Award.
High School athletes raced down the track while Mulinix watched from above.
Milinix loved the look of black and white portraiture.
Damian Mulinix’s 2011 photograph of Doug Knutzen and Eddie Mendez emerging from the surf with a boy whose life was saved by the surf rescue team gained worldwide attention, eventually winning second place in the Pictures of the Year International competition.
A taste for the surreal made for interesting images like this one taken during an Ocean Park Independence Day parade.
Finding new visual things to say about longstanding events such as Memorial Day observances is a difficult challenge that Mulinix often overcame.
Seeing through the near chaos of July 4 at the beach, Mulinix recorded this moment of tranquility.
A photo shoot of the Wahkiakum ferry won a top state prize in 2015.