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Positively Milwaukee: Robert Bell captures the city in snapshots

Posted at 9:43 AM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 10:43:46-04

It's not every day you find a private home with its own photo gallery, but that's what you find when you visit Robert Bell in Milwaukee.

Bell admits, "I never did really like school, but I went down to MATC and I had a friend that was like in Visual Communications, he told me he told me to take started taking pictures. So that's how I started."

Photography has always been Bell's love. Before retiring he held down several jobs in Milwaukee County.

He explains, "I worked there as a nursing assistant, worked as an audio-visual technician, and then I was a juvenile correctional officer at the county."

The 70-year-old shares that his passion is photographing people. His work has been featured in the Milwaukee Community Journal, the Milwaukee Courier, and the Milwaukee Times. His walls are lined with pages of Milwaukee history.

"I love being a blessing. And I love that people like their pictures taken."

From local political leaders to city events, he takes pride in the moments he's captured.

Bell says he does not do this for profit or glory. He just delights in seeing his work appreciated.

He described his method to get the right picture of former President Barack Obama. He was thrilled to get a good image.

"I was automatically trying to capture that moment, using the machine gun cha cha cha cha!!!"

Bell loves taking pictures of ladies.

"I love taking pictures of the ladies because ladies like to pose, they can pose in their hats and stuff like that!" he says. "They take good pictures!"

Bell believes you need to constantly work on your life to be the best that you can be. And that's why you'll find several motivational books at his home studio.

He advises, "Motivate yourself. Be your counselor. Counsel yourself and do the research on yourself!"

That spirit has helped Robert Bell nurture his true love. Freezing the past has helped him develop a deep sense of gratitude.

"My purpose in life is mainly to serve God and to be the best that I can be in my craft," Bells says. "I thank the Lord for giving me the skill. I really appreciate him wholeheartedly that he did this for me."

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