If Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships, Bette Garber’s lens immortalized a thousand trucks.
The distinguished trucking photojournalist died unexpectedly Thursday, Nov. 13, following a persistent illness. She had been an OOIDA member since 2002.
From her home base in Thorndale, PA, Garber spent a long career roaming U.S. highways shooting stunning photos of what she described as “objects of beauty, power and majesty.” Garber’s stock photography business, “Highway Images,” offered an impressive body of work that established her as a photographer who made shooting semi trucks an art form.
Custom trucks were her love. She collected her most dazzling photos in a series of books published by Motorbooks. The most recent, “Ultra-Custom Semi Trucks,” was published earlier this year.
She was a familiar sight at show truck competitions where through the years, she made many close personal friends.
One of those close friends was OOIDA member and Land Line Magazine columnist David Sweetman, who first met her more than 20 years ago.
“I was driving down the highway in a tricked-out KW Aerodyne cabover,” he said. “This crazy woman pulls alongside, comes on the CB and says ‘Pull over, I gotta get a picture.’ It was Bette.”
Some of those images ended up in print, and the exposure essentially changed his life.
“She featured me in a couple of pieces and, wow,” he said. “The first thing she said to me was that she couldn’t make me rich but she could make me famous. ... She had this wonderful feel for the trucking industry. She was, and I teased her, another road dog just like the rest of us. It always parlayed into the work she did.”
Garber was a longtime writer and photographer for Heavy Duty Trucking and several other trucking magazines published by Newport Communications.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
– By Sandi Soendker, managing editor
Land Line Now Reporter Reed Black contributed to this article