Pictures perfect: Bette Garber passes away at 65

PHILADELPHIA — Bette Garber, the most prominent truck photographer in North America, passed away this month at 65.

A familiar face at trucking shows and big-rig beauty pageants from coast to coast, Garber, a former fashion copywriter, taught herself photography then spent the last 30 years making big rigs into objects of art.

She published four beautiful coffee-table books all devoted to trucks: “Custom Semi Trucks,” “Custom Semi,” “Custom Semi-Trucks 2,” and her most recent, “Ultra-Custom Semi Trucks.” All the books were published by MBI Publishing of Minneapolis, Minn.

She’s well-known in Canada, too. Among the hundreds of spectacular rigs featured in her last book is Phil Langevin’s all-chrome Freightliner COE. Langevin, another perennial show-and-shine winner, is from the Ottawa Valley.

Photo by Bette Garber

Garber also wrote for the American trucking magazines Heavy Duty Trucking and RoadStar.

Garber got hooked on trucks when she was on the road with a company she and her former husband Charles founded in 1970. During those trips, she carried a CB radio and that brought her into the world of trucking, a world she never abandoned.

Her books, which are works of art themselves, don’t only take readers into the cabs, engine compartments and sleepers of the most gorgeous rigs on the road, they also take the readers into the lives of the people who drive and customize the trucks.

This week the New York Times ran an obituary stating that she “was known to do anything to get a shot, from lashing herself to the roof of a moving truck to dangling above traffic while suspended from an overpass.”

Her contributions to the world of trucks and trucking journalism will be deeply missed.

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