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Ben Queen

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Photographer, 
Ben Queen Photography 
Bridgeport, 19

Some young athletes aspire to be featured on the pages of Sports Illustrated. While he played sports through high school, Ben Queen had a different goal. He would prefer to be the photographer behind the camera for the popular sports magazine.

Queen, a student at West Virginia University, may be well on his way. The freshman from Bridgeport has already garnered national recognition for his sports photography. And he's proving to be quite the entrepreneur. At 19, Ben Queen Photography has assembled a staff of five, shooting assignments at local sporting events.

He enjoyed activities such as playing baseball and running cross country, but he was intrigued by photography and could make money, too. He was giving his photos to his friends' parents and grandparents, but he soon realized they were more than willing to pay for his work.

"I found there was good money to be made for a high school student taking pictures," said Queen, who got interested in photography at age 11. 

By high school, his shots were appearing on the sports pages of The Exponent Telegram, Clarksburg's daily newspaper. He was prepared to forgo playing sports until his baseball coach made a proposition. Queen wore his camera to the games until it was his turn in the pitching rotation.

"I didn't have to bat and I could make money, too," he said.

He has since expanded to Connect Bridgeport.com, a local website, and WV MetroNews. 

The Harrison County Chamber of Commerce honored him as its 2008 "Young Entrepreneur of the Year." The following year, he entered the National Amateur Photo Contest sponsored by Canon USA and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His youth league football action shot was chosen from among thousands of entrees. The prize included tickets to the Super Bowl in Tampa, which was his first NFL game. The photo is on exhibit at the Hall of Fame Museum in Canton, Ohio.