Beloved Evansville Photographer, Mark McCoy, Passed Away But Left Us with an Enduring Legacy of Iconic Masterpieces
I remember the day I married my husband like it was yesterday. I was a bundle of nerves, as any bride would be. Some brides prefer to get ready alongside their bridesmaids and family but I knew that I needed alone time to settle myself.
When I arrived at my hair appointment, there was only one person whom I invited along. He had a purpose for joining me but I've looked back on that day many times and his presence was such a blessing.
His name was Mark McCoy - he was my wedding photographer. Although his specialty was sports and event photography, Mark agreed to shoot my big day. We worked together at ATOMA Publishing, where I was the editor, in the early 2000s. He took photos for News4U, Tri-State Bride, and Go Team Magazine. We were pretty much a staff of three (with our staff writer) and though there was always a lot to do, we had a ball. And, I can attest that no one could capture youth athletics quite like Mark. He had a passion for snapping that one amazing photo of a kid putting their heart and soul into their sport. Choosing the cover photos for the monthly magazine was pretty much always an impossible task because Mark was just so good at being a photographer.
Mark told me up front that he wasn't a wedding photographer. It wasn't his passion but he'd make an exception for me. He also warned me that candid photos were his thing but I already knew that.
Mark took countless photos at my wedding - both posed and candid. I loved Mark's candid work the best. But he was so patient - letting me pose with each one of my bridesmaids to create the unforgettable goofy portraits that I treasure. And I truly can't imagine anyone shuttling me around to my hair and make-up appointments that morning. He had a unique outlook on life and the most soothing demeanor that rubbed off on everyone he was around.
The loss of Mark has already been felt throughout the community here in the tri-state. When I read the tribute his son Casey posted this morning, my heart sank at the thought that Mark isn't in this world anymore.
He left his Mark (pun intended) all over Evansville. He has spent years photographing the city and all of southern Indiana and the Midwest. If you ever go to the bathroom at Cheddars almost all the photos on the wall are his, downtown when you see the plaque along the riverfront with the four freedoms and fireworks that’s his photo. Many photos at Tri state orthopedics among many many other offices around town.
His work is all around the city and it’s great. It should be everywhere, it’s iconic to this little river city. Dad was an artist.
He wanted the hard to get photos. The ones you had to get up really early, hike in and wait for just the right moment for. The ones with a challenge. I think that’s why deep down he never really was intrigued by taking studio photos or weddings (even though that’s where the “money was”) he wanted real, he wanted to paint a picture that you could feel.
If you knew my dad, Mark (his real name was actually Markle, after his mom's maiden name, though he didn’t like that name very much) then you knew his soul. He let his soul shine every day. He was always the person you met. He never had any hidden agendas, was never fake, always wore his heart right on his sleeve.
He was a lover. A creative. He loved serving people and being of service. He was always thinking of others and how to help them, show them and teach them.
“Till the band gets back together again," I love you pop. -Casey McCoy
It's not lost on me that I'm one of the only people on the planet to have original Mark McCoy wedding photography. I didn't ask Mark to do it because he was my friend. I asked him because he was the best. I knew those photos would last forever and it was important that they capture the purest moments of the day. And Mark did that.
I looked back through the photos that Mark took of my wedding and I think about how he made sure to focus on getting some photos of my dad. Mark knew he was in late-stage Parkinson's and how important the photos would be to me. It ended up being the photo we used for my dad's obituary because he somehow captured that twinkle that my dad always seemed to have in his eye. But that was Mark - the man who could capture twinkles.
Even when I was ugly crying, there was beauty in his photography.
His legacy and his art will live on forever through those who will look back at his work and understand that it wasn't just some quick snaps of the camera but a man who could see the world through a different lens and invited us all into his world through the amazing photography that he shared so freely.
I read Mark's obituary today and the last line is just so Mark. He left us all a gift - a memorial concert to celebrate his life. He told his family to relay this message...
“Everybody break out your Guitars, your Djimbes, drum kits, harps, and anything else that produces music, and come on out and don’t forget to bring your dancin’ shoes!!!”
A Celebration of Life will be held at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, October 2, 2021, at Boone Funeral Home East Chapel – A Family Tradition Funeral Home, 5330 Washington Avenue with Pastor Kris Holzmeyer officiating. A Live Stream will be available beginning twenty minutes prior to the service time. Please visit www.boonefuneralhome.net, select your loved one’s obituary, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click Live Stream.
Friends may visit from 10:00 a.m. until time of celebration, Saturday, October 2, 2021, at BOONE FUNERAL HOME EAST CHAPEL.
Memorial Contributions may be made to: It Takes A Village No-Kill Rescue, Inc. at 1417 N Stockwell Rd, Evansville, IN 47715.
Condolences may be made to the family online at boonefuneralhome.net.
The Photography of Mark McCoy