Editor’s Note: The Daily Reporter highlights Hancock County’s farming community each month, as well as people and stories from local groups and programs. Here, New Palestine High School senior Megan Bell shares her experience in the 4-H program and her passion for photography. For more information on 4-H, local clubs, or to register, call Hancock County Purdue Extension at 317-462-1113 or email Amber Barks, [email protected]
Over the past ten years, I have worked and experimented with my photography and my photo style. Finally, I am happy to say that I have created a successful platform for me and my business. I first started photography as a hobby and as a project for 4-H in Hancock County. The 4-H photography project laid the foundation for my beginnings and my learning of the art of photography. For years I have taken pictures of everything from animals to landscapes. Nothing seemed to ignite my passion as I grew in my work and understanding.
I thought about giving up. My freshman year of high school, I went to a high school basketball game with my camera. I had no idea what I was doing and was at my wit’s end to publish my work. After much support from my family and peers, I reached out.
Over the past three years, I have not only learned and grown from my mistakes, but also gained many opportunities and new friends. Taking my photography skills and a burning passion, my sophomore year of high school, I decided I wanted to be part of the yearbook team. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The last two years as a photo editor at New Palestine High School “Avalon” have pushed me out of my comfort zone. Not only am I growing, but so is my photography. I’ve been shooting all sports photography for two years, but have now expanded into senior portraiture, sports portraiture, and sports videography. Being promoted to school social media photographer was one of my biggest accomplishments. I am very happy to be part of my yearbook class family.
Not only is taking pictures one of my strengths, but I also have a passion for 4-H and livestock. I’ve been showing my goats and horses for nine years in 4-H. I hope to continue showing in open exhibitions after this year. Showing my livestock is one of my favorite projects, but I also do crafts and show my dog. This year I was elected vice president of fundraising for Junior Leaders. 4-H has given me many leadership opportunities, taught me a lot about time management and the responsibility of caring for my livestock. Succeeding and earning ribbons can be fun, but it’s the memories and relationships you make with other 4-Hers that are worth it. With the skills I learned from 4-H cattle, I plan to keep my family’s farm running for years to come.
A favorite activity to do when I’m not working on photography or with my livestock is community service. I have a standard poodle, Izzy, I trained to be a therapy dog. We visit nursing homes, 4-H meetings and libraries. Being the youngest Love on a Leash program manager in Shelby County in the past three years has given me a new perspective. Not only do I help others, but they help me.
Through 4-H, many community service opportunities are available. I picked up cans for the local food pantry, made blankets for the homeless shelter, and helped 4-Hers with special needs at my Clip Clop Clover 4-H club.
In the spring of 2021, I took a photo during the HHC men’s basketball section. I submitted it to Ball State Journalism Day. The photo “White Out” received an excellent background photo award.
In the fall, I plan to attend Ball State University and major in journalism, with a concentration in photojournalism and a double major in arts education. I also plan to do a minor in entrepreneurship. If anyone would like to see more of my work, please check out @bell_photography13 on Instagram and @bellphoto13 on Twitter and Facebook.