Photos by Chuck Forinash have immortalized much of Newport's scenic beauty, including a classic shot of the Yaquina Head lighthouse before the outbuildings were torn down, shadowed by a full moon hanging over a surreal blue ocean.
Now, Newport-based photographer and framer Chuck Forinash has opened his own gallery on Newport's Bayfront.
"I started my photography in 1981 and, initially, I developed a line of postcards, which sold to local tourism establishments," explained Forinash, during an interview with Kelly Moyer-Wade in the new gallery, located on the U.S. Coast Guard Station end of the Bayfront.
Around that same time, Forinash opened a working studio and framing shop in South Beach. "It had a small showroom," said Forinash. "But I've never had a full retail gallery before."
With his August 1999 opening of the Forinash Gallery, he has completed the third major part of his business," Forinash said.
"One third of the business is wholesale of commercial photographs; one-third is the development of brochures, postcards and note cards; and one-third involves framing", said Forinash.
Many local businesses have commissioned Forinash for their brochures, including Chinook Winds Casino, The Embarcdero, the Shilo Inn, and Gracie's Sea Hag Food and Grog in Depoe Bay.
However, Forinash's self-described "big break" came 1988 when the Portland-based Newport Bay Restaurant chain asked Forinash to photograph "glorified family scenes" around the Newport area. To this day, the photos still decorate all of the chain's restaurants in Portland and surrounding communities.
The framing portion of Forinash's business was a natural extension of his career goals, he said, "It makes sense for photographers to do their own framing." he explained. "It's much less expensive than sending it out."
Forinash, a Newport native, learned the art of framing while studying photo journalism at Portland Community College, and said a life of photography came naturally to him. "I went into school as a premed student, switched to dentistry," he said. "But realized I didn't want to spend my life doing that."
After consulting with a PCC counselor, Forinash discovered that he could make a career out of his newfound love of cameras. As soon as he picked up a camera, said Forinash, he knew he had a knack for photography. Soon, he was carrying his photo equipment with him every time he trekked into the outdoors.
"I've always loved being out in nature," he said. "And I always took my camera with me."
Today, the Forinash Gallery is lined with more than a decade of Forinash's work, which captures the "moods of the Pacific Coast," and features everything from lighthouses and sunsets over the ocean to the close-up, colorful tide pool.
The lighthouses are probably the most popular," said Forinash. His shots include lighthouses from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, to Point Arena, California.
"Some of them were really hard to get," said Forinash, pointing to a rustic lighthouse he discovered two years ago in California. "This one was on a rancher's private property, and we had to get permission and then hike out to shoot it."
The new gallery, Forinash hopes, will attract both tourists and locals. "A lot of people who have lived here have family and friends in other places and have visited Newport," he said. "So, for them, it's nice to be able to send a framed photo, or even just a note card around the holidays."
The gallery will pack and ship the photos anywhere in the world, said Forinash. For anyone visiting the central Oregon coast, Forinash's photos could make a memorable keepsake.