2017-03-23 / Obituaries

Michael McGinnis

Michael George McGinnis, 63, of Concord, N.C., father, husband and superb photographer, died on Nov. 15, 2016 after a six-year battle with cancer. He died peacefully, surrounded by his family at Tucker Hospice House.

Michael was born May 15, 1953 in Abington, Pa., and was raised in the Los Angeles, Calif., area. He was the valedictorian of the Granada Hills High School senior class of 1971.

He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following college, he worked in Yosemite National Park for several years as a waiter at The Ahwahnee Hotel. There he explored and photographed the many natural wonders of the park. He made close and life-long friends, and was known for his easy laugh and excellent wit.

While he was in Yosemite in the winter of 1977, he and some friends were hiking and made the discovery of an airplane and its contents crashed in lower Merced Pass Lake. This enabled him to finance his continued education. He returned to school to study photography, and graduated from of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Montecito, Calif.

Michael’s art form was television news photography where his relaxed confidence was well suited for the pressure of daily news gathering. He worked at TV stations in Fort Myers, Fla., Knoxville, Tenn., where he won an Emmy Award, and in Charlotte where he rose to the position of chief photographer at WSOCTV.

In the mid-90s he opened his own business, McGinnis Video Productions. The company produced corporate videos, and worked extensively for the major television networks including ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, providing news photography throughout the Carolinas.

Meticulous lighting, beautiful shot composition and perfect sound characterized Michael’s corporate work. He was widely recognized as one of the best news photographers in North Carolina.

Michael’s work brought him in contact with presidents, movie stars and athletes. He shot interviews of Tom Cruise and Michael Jordan, among others, and completed several assignments for the Oprah Winfrey Show and The Daily Show. He also covered the manhunt for the Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph in the North Carolina mountains.

Michael’s outside interests included cooking and he shared many amazing meals with friends and family. Reporters on assignment with him quickly found out that he always knew where the best restaurants could be found. He loved a wide variety of music. His favorite artists were Van Morrison and Ryan Adams.

He is survived by his sister, Molly Robbins of Arcadia, Calif.; daughter Caitlin McGinnis of Charlotte; son Michael McGinnis of Washington, D.C.; and his ex-wife and friend, Elaine Cox of Concord.

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