Award-winning community photographer Scott Dorsett, 61, passed away Sunday. His work included several decades’ service with the Waxahachie Daily Light through 2016, when a near-fatal vehicle-pedestrian accident while he was out jogging left him with significant injuries and continuing medical issues.
Along with his role as “the community’s photographer,” Dorsett also had mentored a number of students and co-workers on how to improve their skills. And, in 2018, he was able to assist in an advisor’s role with the startup of the Waxahachie Sun.
There is simply no way to estimate the likely hundreds of thousands of photographs Dorsett took over the years – and the outpouring of sorrow at his passing is testament to his ability to capture those photographic moments.
As a working photographer, Dorsett often came in contact with first responders.
“He was one of a kind and he cared about what was going on here,” Ellis Constable Office Pct. 2 Chief Deputy Brad Elliott said. “He was more interested in getting the good and the positive out. He wrote and took photos from a perspective of hope and life. Scott was a guy that never quit. He encouraged others while he faced his own battle. He will be deeply missed.”
Billie Wallace, retired Waxahachie Police lieutenant, said, “Scott meant so much to so many in our community and his legend will live on forever.”
A significant portion of Dorsett’s photography was sports-related, with KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM programming director Ken Roberts sharing his thoughts with the Sun.
“It was a pleasure to know someone who was so talented but yet so humble,” Roberts said. “Scott, he was one of those guys that you always felt a little bit better about things after you were around him. He had such a great perspective and was always in a great mood. There is an old photographers’ adage that says there is always two people in the photograph: the photographer and the viewer. We were so fortunate in this part of the world to have somebody who shared that immense talent with us.”
Past colleagues in the newsroom also shared their thoughts.
Shelly Conlon, former Daily Light managing editor and now a reporter for The Argus Leader in South Dakota, worked with Dorsett for several years.
“Scott was amazing at capturing every part of the community, both good and bad,” Conlon said. “He never missed a sporting event or fine arts event unless he had to. He was always on the sidelines, ready with that trigger finger to capture the moment that told the story of Waxahachie’s best.
“He was always there to capture the essence of that community pride and I’m not sure I know someone who loved Waxahachie more than the way he did,” she said.
In a Facebook post, Sam Chance remembered how Dorsett helped him when he was a high school intern.
“When I worked as an intern for the Waxahachie Daily Light, you immediately took me under your wing as a photographer,” Chance wrote. “You always made me feel so welcome to share the court or the field when you were shooting. Not only that, you would mentor me, show me tricks, let me use your camera or your lenses. You truly cared and you loved to teach, that was obvious.
“I will never ever forget your friendship, your lessons, but most importantly the contagious positivity so many of us had the amazing blessing of experiencing from you,” Chance wrote.
In particular, Dorsett’s sports photography was widely recognized, with Waxahachie ISD athletic director Greg Reed saying his memory “will last forever because we’ve got him memorialized on the walls.”
“As a longtime resident and graduate of Waxahachie, Scott took pictures of me when I was a player and I have got a framed picture of my son in seventh grade when he scored his first touchdown,” Reed said. “So, it goes really deep with me with Scott’s servant leadership that he showed in our community. You can’t walk into an office or an athletic facility without seeing something that he took.”
Greg Gober, Waxahachie High School head basketball coach, described Dorsett as “very giving.”
“To me he was a selfless person,” Gober said. “His talent was unbelievable. He could have done (photography) at the highest level but he was willing to do that for the Waxahachie community and the kids. I always thought that was tremendous.
“With the images that he was able to catch and the memories he made for others, those are not going to go away,” he said. “When people see his name, there is always going to be a great memory about him.”
Neal White, Waxahachie Sun editor emeritus, said Dorsett’s passing had “left a hole in hearts” across the community.
“It is impossible to describe the impact he made there in Waxahachie,” White said. “What made his photos so special is he had a way of capturing the community. He was a very special man and cared about everyone. The world is a little bit darker today.”