It just seems like yesterday

Mark Lyons

I wrote a recommendation today for a dear friend and colleague. I don’t take the writing of recommendations lightly any more – I have been burned way too many times the past 64-years. However, it was without hesitation that I recommended professional photographer and photojournalist Mark Lyons of Mason, Ohio (

I have personally and professionally known, supervised and mentored Mark (alebit it some 40 years ago when he was a fledgling graduate of Western Kentucky University). Over the years, I have stayed in touch with this award-winning photographer and have used him on projects for which I demanded to have only the best-of-the-best products.

Mark is one of the truly rare talents that captures the very essence of his subjects. He has an eye for composition and lighting that brings whatever he shoots to life and ensures the image for posterity. He truly captures the spirit and the soul of his subjects all the while being focused on exceptional customer service.

Even if there was an unlimited talent pool of photographers, there is but one single photographer I would choose to do any work for me and or my clients and that would be Mark Lyons.

Mark and I go back to the 70s, when he was one of the first photojournalists I hired to intern for me when I was Director of Public Information at the then TVA’s Land Between The Lakes. I was still in my 20s then, and Mark was not that far behind.

Two things stand out about Mark that always impressed me. One, he worked as hard and as long hours as I did and never complained – in fact, he seemed to thrive on any work I threw at him. Two, his values were the same as mine. He saw the internship much like his photography as a calling I think, an opportunity to demonstrate his emerging talent. He did a commendable job in that internship and later would go onward to win a Pultizer and establish his own photography studio.

Like all of us he grew up. Got married to a lovely lady – Cathy and had two very talented kids. One day he will probably be a grandfather and I can only imagine the delight he would take in that.

Mark is of the “old school” of professionals. Those of us from that school would like to believe we “work hard and we play hard” but work always comes before play. Work is a part of our genetic make-up. Work is in our blood.

It saddens me somewhat these days when I look at students emerging from college because somewhere along the way they didn’t have a tough “old intern master” that worked them long hours to ensure they understood the value of commitment, pride in their work and satisfaction that comes from knowing you did the best you could at everything you undertook.

Then again, I am now sounding like my parents, aren’t I?

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