News Archive

Photography exhibition opens

Mark Doss remembers developing two of his lifes passions when he was a young boy, that of hunting and photography. He explained that he began hunting with his father, Rayburn and granddad, Noah, when he was about four and also gained an appreciation for the camera as he marveled at the snap shots taken by the elder Doss with his trusty Polaroid land camera which produced photos almost instantaneously.

I was hooked, said Mark, and since those early years I have enjoyed hunting as well as dabbling in photography. There is something about being out in these ancient and beautiful mountains we have in Harlan County that gives me a certain peace watching and tracking animals and also being able to get the key shot, not necessarily with a rifle, but with the camera.

An exhibition of 65 photographs taken by Doss is currently on display in the gallery of the Edsel Godbey Appalachian Center located on the Cumberland campus of Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College and will be shown to the public throughout January. The images have been donated by Doss to the permanent collection of the SKCTC archives. Marks work is both beautiful and inspiring, noted Larry LaFollette, SKCTC archivist who helped prepare the show. We honor Mark as the college celebrates its 50th anniversary; we wished to showcase his magnificent work especially since he is an alumnus of the college.

Doss, who describes his one-man show as that of a collection of flora, fauna and scenery, is a 1984 graduate of Cumberland High School. He holds degrees from Southeast as well as from Lincoln Memorial University, graduating in 1988 with a bachelors degree in business administration. As a hunter and conservationist, he has developed a keen awareness of and an appreciation for the pristine beauty of the region that is displayed in grandiose style throughout the four seasons. Through my photography I want people to look at the pictures and come away with an appreciation for what we have in this area -- the raw and thrilling beauty. Folks dont have to go to Gatlinburg and to the Smoky Mountains, we have that breathtaking scenery right here to enjoy and to appreciate. Having had a desire to express himself trough photography since his youth, he, nonetheless, became more involved with the art form while in high school where he was the chief photographer for the high school yearbook and the student newspaper.

He took over possession of the familys Canon AE-1 film camera and began snapping photos of events at school and in the wilds of Harlan County. I learned long ago to enjoy photography, and I have always tried to do a good job and, hopefully make a record of my passage through this life. I have learned and have tried to abide by the philosophy that each job, each picture that I take, is a self portrait. I try to sign my work with excellence.

As an award-winning photographer with two books to his credit, Doss has rightfully earned the reputation of being one of the premier wildlife photographers in the region, the state and beyond. He has produced a book for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation which chronicles the reintroduction and growth of the elk population over the past 15 years in Eastern Kentucky in addition to publishing a well-received book, A Journey Through Eastern Kentucky that rolled off the press in the fall of 2010 and is now in its second printing.

A long time ago I discovered how to harvest game with the gun, but perhaps the most challenging is with the camera to get the perfect shot with the camera is special. You can take photographs of game throughout the year and it also hones ones skills as a hunter to try and get close to the animals, tracking them and developing patience by coming back day after day in hopes of landing that prize picture. I love being atop a mountain taking in all of Gods beauty.

He has been using a digital camera since 1996 and uses Canon equipment with Sigma lenses.

Doss is proud to report that his children, Morgan and Zach, are promising photographers, both with photo credits in several publications as well as being recipients of several awards.

He and his wife, Shawn, and their children reside at Baxter. For further information about the month-long photo exhibition at SKCTC, contact Mr. LaFollette at 606-589-3131 or Chris Jones at 606-589-3003.