Megan Roper grew up on a farm and loves animals so much that her heart’s desire was to be a veterinarian. However, she also loved animals so much that she decided her sensitivity for them would cause her too much distress to see them suffer, from illness, injury, abuse or neglect.
“I knew I couldn’t take seeing them in pain and abused, and I’d end up taking them all home with me.” So she decided to become a photographer and take photographs of animals. Thus, the startup of Diekemper Photography.
On a recent flyer, she offered a 10-percent discount on a pet photo package when a customer brought in a bag of pet food to give to needy pets in Fayette County.
With the economy, pet owners are finding it difficult to buy food for their pets, and some are facing giving their pet up. Roper is continuing her project, with the help of Second Chance Animal Rescue, to distribute the food to the needy animals.
She had always liked taking photographs. “So I decided to be a photographer in my junior and senior years, and integrate my love of animals in that, too,” she said.
She graduated from Carlyle High School, attended Kaskaskia College and completed her education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
She settled in Vandalia and opened her business, Diekemper Photography on the west end of the 500 block of West Gallatin Street.
“I thought it would be a great place to start a business, and after I started meeting more business owners and people in town, everyone seemed really nice.”
She is engaged to be married in September. “That’s where the name Diekemper name comes from; (my name) will be Diekemper then (in September),” she said.
“He (her future husband) likes animals very much, so we get along very well with that. He did say, ‘Just two dogs’ and I said, ‘How about three?’ He said, ‘Well, no more that three,’” she said, laughing.
She currently lives with her parents and has three cats and three dogs.
“All of them live outside, except one cat, and he will come with me when I move out,” she said. “My mom will not let me take my St. Bernard. She is my baby, but she will soon be 7 years old and she grew up there and is with the other two dogs, so it would be hard on her to move her.”
“If someone brings in a bag of dog food or pet food, it will be donated for needy pets. We are trying to get as much as we can,” she said. She does not specify a size for the pet photo offer – any size of cat or dog food will be accepted and the discount given.
Recent pets she has photographed include a 4-month-old bulldog puppy named “Lola,” with her proud human family; two large dogs named “Con” and “Callie,” together with their human family; and a winsome, large dog named “Bear,” who is so photogenic that Roper even took a profile shot of him. All but Lola were adopted though Second Chance Animal Rescue. All were well-behaved and appeared to be posing for the camera.
But Diekemper Photography Not Limited to Animals
The walls and displays of Diekember Studio hold many examples of her gift and artistic ability as a photographer.
Along with the classic family groups, one captures a couple as the girl jumps gracefully into the boy’s arms. Another touchingly shows an elderly farmer sitting in his barn, as if just resting from the day’s work. A series of smaller photos capture a child playing. She especially likes to take pictures in the outdoors and “has camera, will travel.”
She welcomes visitors to her studio to view her work and get acquainted.