Whitley County photographer Bill Meader’s work is on display at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center in January and February.

Meader was born and raised in New England, later moving to Philadelphia, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area of California. Meader and his wife, Marcia, a Whitley County native and CCHS graduate, moved back to the area in 2013 with their daughter, Rachel.

Now retired, Meader spent most of his career investigating insurance fraud for the State of California’s Department of Insurance. He was a criminal investigator, investigating complaints of fraud committed by insurance agents, brokers and insurance companies.

“I later became a sworn peace officer with the rank of detective, where I investigated fraud committed by consumers against the insurance companies,” Meader said of his law enforcement career. “One of the highlights of my career was traveling to the islands of Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines with a small task force of FBI agents and IRS criminal agents to shut down a fake insurance company.”

While in law enforcement, photography piqued his curiosity.

“I used to photograph the evidence collected during search warrants,” Meader said. “It was when I retired and moved to Whitley County in 2013, I took photography up as a hobby.”

From his wooded home in Columbia City, Meader is surrounded by incredible imagery — nature and wildlife — that inspire his work. Meader believes Whitley County provides a beautiful backdrop for capturing great photos.

“I am fortunate I can experience things and share them with people who may not have the time or ability to get out and see the beauty in Whitley County,” he said.

He enjoys photographing a variety of subjects including the moon, wildlife, wildflowers — but his favorite subject is foxes.

“I want to create pictures that tell a story,” Meader said. “I think a good photograph gives the viewer a sense of what the photographer was trying to convey when taking the photo. I also want to continue to learn the more technical aspects of photography as a way to improve my skills.”

Largely self-taught, Meader has taken some online courses and often reads articles and books about photography to help him continue to hone his skill.

Photography is an important form of self-expression for Meader.

“It gives me a chance to explore my creativity,” he said. “A photo is a moment in time that I can share with others.”

Meader has developed quite a fan base for his work, sharing it online.

“I like to share my work with friends on social media,” Meader said. “One person told me that she enjoyed my photos as it gave her a positive outlook on life before starting her day.”

The exhibit at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center marks Meader’s first showcase of his work, and Meader is the first local artist featured during the Chamber’s 100th year.

“I thank the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce for giving artists the ability to share their creativity with the community,” Meader said.

Meader’s exhibit will remain on display at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center through the end of February.