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June 17, 2020

Faces of Fauquier: He tells stories in photos, text

Photo/Don Del Rosso
“I don’t think of myself as a photographer,” Mark Deane says. “I just pass on the scenes that I see.”
Photo/Mark Deane
“Sun Going Down in Virginia,” posted Tuesday on his Facebook page.
When you take the time and really listen to the person, it’s really a great story. I just try to keep it simple and just write how they see the world.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
It began about five years ago after he posted on Facebook a staged, whimsical photograph of his mother pushing a wheelbarrow next to their then under-renovation home at Atoka in Northern Fauquier.

To his surprise, the image and another one like it generated a slew of enthusiastic comments, said Mark Deane, a Realtor, self-described handyman and former longtime horse trainer.

“I noticed it got some kind of following,” recalled Mr. Deane, 59. “I thought, ‘Hmmm, people like this kind of thing’.”

So he decided to do more. Today, he tries to post a random photograph per day — almost always outdoor scenes — on his and local Facebook pages, including “Marshall Uncensored,” “Middleburg Uncensored” and “The Plains Uncensored.”

He admits to a particular fondness for dawn and dusk photos that involve the sun.

“What I’ve learned is every time I have that sunset or sunrise, people like it,” said Mr. Deane, smiling. “That sunrise or a sunset is a killer.”

His stand-alone photos often depict colorful flowers in the foreground. Other times, they show a spilt rail or stone fence, a red barn tucked in a lush green field, riders on horseback, spider webs, a deer beside a tree or a gravel farm road.

“I don’t think of myself as a photographer,” he said. “I just pass on the scenes that I see. When you take a picture of something, it usually comes out pretty good, because this area is just so beautiful. Anybody can take a picture; you just point.”

He added: “All I do is take pictures of God’s canvass. Period.”

Relying on his Samsung Galaxy S8 smart phone, Mr. Deane shuns the fancy photographic equipment of a professional.

“Would take the fun out of it,” he said.

He wants only to “capture” the beauty of the countryside and share it, Mr. Deane said.

“Not everybody’s in a place like this, and we take it for granted,” he explained. “If I can show that to somebody living in the city that doesn’t see that, I think it might make a difference in their life.”

Mr. Deane also attempts to publish a weekly profile on his Facebook page about local folks who talk about the old days and old ways, before “there was electricity and when they rode horses,” instead of vehicles. “It’s kind of like living history.”

Recent subjects include a retired manager of a big horse farm near Upperville and the cook at the Atoka store.

While most people agree to interviews, plenty at first consider themselves unworthy, Mr. Deane said.

“And then, it’s a fun thing to see,” he said. “You’re talking to the person and all of a sudden they open up and they go back to their childhood days, or whatever, and they lighten up.

“They start telling you their stories, and I’m like, ‘What do you mean you don’t have stories?’ I’m like, this is awesome.”

Reporting requires patience and a pair of good ears, Mr. Deane said.

“When you take the time and really listen to the person, it’s really a great story,” he said. “I just try to keep it simple and just write how they see the world. You almost try to paint a picture of someone.”

• Age
59

• Home 
Atoka

• Work
Realtor/broker, Keller Williams Realty Inc., Leesburg, 2014 to present; various jobs, including Realtor, personal trainer, farm manager, race horse consultant, 2006-14; area horse trainer, 1976 to 2006.

• Family
Mother; three grown children.

• Education
Fauquier High School, 1978.

• Church involvement
Member, Middleburg Methodist Church, 1980 to present.

• Why do you take photographs and write stories about people?
Pictures tell stories just by looking at them. When you see a person, you can take a picture of them, but you can’t see their whole history and that’s why I write their stories.

I do it for them to like it, their family to like it and for them to realize, “Wow, I did make a difference.”

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Fifty years, off and on.

• Why do you live here?
My mother was looking for something in Middleburg and found a home in The Washington Post in the real estate advertising. Everything that’s close to Middleburg used to be called Middleburg. And she couldn’t believe the house was so cheap.

When my parents came out here, it wasn’t quite Middleburg. The house was built in the 1800s. Just fell in love with the area. Then, my parents ended up running the Atoka Store for about 20 years.

It’s just been a great place to live.

• How do you describe this county? 
It’s laid back, it’s beautiful. I live in the northern tip and don’t see all the development. There really haven’t been many changes over the years, which I’m good with.

A lot of the land is really protected. The people are great. I just think it’s a great place to be.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I really wouldn’t change anything. Everything I need I have.

• What do you do for fun? 
Plant flowers; work in my garden; take pictures; write stories. I go around and meet people. I just like to find the history of the people that are older now and see how they used to do things around here. I think it’s pretty interesting.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
My front porch.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years? 
Where I’m sitting, it’s probably not going to change. The Warrenton part of the county probably is going to continue to see development, which I know has to happen. It has to happen. Whether I like it or not, really doesn’t matter. It’s just the way things happen. Everything always grows.

• Favorite TV show?
“Two and a Half Men”

• Favorite movie?
That would be between “Forrest Gump” and “Ben-Hur.”

• Favorite vacation spot? 
Caribbean Islands.

• Favorite food? 
Vegetables that I grow in my garden.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom? 
The minister/preacher Robert H. Schuller. I used to watch the show, “Hour of Power.” He said a couple of things. One was getting started is 50 percent done, which makes so much sense. The other was hang onto a life raft like you would God’s hands in a river to get you through life.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My parents. They were a constant in my life. I’ve always thought that in life nobody’s going to love you more than your mother, who I help take care of now. Consistency in life, I’ve learned, is a very important thing.

My parents were always consistent, which brought huge balance to my life. Sometimes we end up taking that for granted. But, I think the peacefulness I see now in life all came from that.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery? 
I would start a company and hire my children and travel the world with them. We love to travel. The best noise I’ve ever heard in my life is when you hear your children off in the distance — talking together and laughing.

Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? Email Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or Lou Emerson at LKE@fauquiernow.com
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Michael Keating · June 19, 2020 at 5:16 pm
Wao North Fauquiernow is really an amazing place as I remember I spent few years of my life there before joining Elie Hirschfeld Children online company as a professional.Very nice and interesting post.Thank you.
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