Logan Mock-Bunting first picked up a camera because he grew too fast.
He grew 18 inches in 18 months, unbalancing his adolescent body so much that he fell often and hurt himself. To hang out with his athletic friends, he brought his mother’s camera to their games. And to keep himself fit, he learned to surf in the waves of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., where the water caught him gently.

“Beaches are like people,” Mock-Bunting says. “They seem similar, but once you spend time with them and get
to know them, they have distinct moods and personalities — different weather patterns and different light and different swells.”

Since those days in North Carolina, Mock-Bunting has traveled to beaches
in Latin America, the seaside resorts of Europe, the islands off the coast of Australia, and the coastlines of Africa and Indonesia. He has dived beneath the surface to capture manta rays and sea turtles, and soared above the waves in a helicopter for a bird’s-eye view of beachgoers and paddleboard races.

But where he is most comfortable is in the water’s salty embrace, where he can capture the light on a thunderous wave or combine surf and man in an easy alliance. The ocean is his portal to the rest of the world.

“The beach is a place where things come together. I don’t think of the oceans or shores as boundaries as much as borders. It’s not a place where things end — it’s a place where things can begin.”

Logan Mock-Bunting is a photographer living in Washington. Bronwen Latimer is the Magazine’s photo editor.
To comment on this photo essay, e-mail wpmagazine@washpost.com.