Random Thoughts

The photography thing

Written by Gail Bjork

A lesson from my former high school art teacher about being passionate about things you love, be it painting, “the photography thing,” or wherever your creative imagination leads.

Through Facebook, a fellow student from years ago, Cynthia Cable, reintroduced me to our high school art teacher, Bea Card Kettlewood. I kept in touch with Bea for several years following graduation but then somehow lost contact.


Bea Kettlewood hangs her paintings for an art show. Photo by Karen Green Michel. Click for larger view.

So I was delighted to learn from Cynthia that she wanted to touch base with me again. We’ve been corresponding by email ever since.

It’s nice to reconnect.

Bea was one of those rare individuals who had a profound and lasting impact on my life. One of the things she taught me as a young student artist is how to look beyond the surface to capture the essence of a subject. It is something I attempt to do when taking photographs.

I was happy to learn that Bea never lost her passion and energy for painting. According to Cynthia:

“Oh she’s painting alright. Painting up a storm. She’s having two shows this month. She lectures and travels a lot.”

I told Bea about Digicamhelp. She said some lovely things about the site and then added these comments:

“I do not have a digital camera. My choice because I would get so wound up in the photography thing I would not get to paint.”

I was shocked. How could anyone not want to own and use a digital camera?!!

I was half joking with myself, of course. Just because I’m overly enthusiastic about digital photography doesn’t mean everyone else has the same interest.

I’ve thought a lot about what Bea wrote. What she really said spoke to her life-long passion, one so great that she won’t let anything distract from it.

It’s a valuable lesson for each of us.

Oh, and while not into “the photography thing,” I’m glad one of her associates is. Bea emailed me a digital photo taken as she hung her paintings.

See sample images from Bea’s painting diary.


Dr. Bea Card Kettlewood is a noted artist, art educator and lecturer from Pompton Plains, New Jersey. During her tenure as head of the art department at New Milford High School in New Jersey, Bea developed an extraordinary and exemplary fine arts program. She’s had 46 solo shows and has been in juried or invitational shows in numerous states in the U.S. The media she uses include watercolors, oil and pen & ink. I still have two watercolors painted by her hanging on the walls in my home.

Cynthia Cable is fine arts photographer from San Francisco, California. She attended Parsons School of Design and received a BFA from Syracuse University. She has been employed as a Medical Photographer and camera woman for CNN.  She studied with Amy Arbus, Nathan Lypons, Minor White and other notable photographers.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.


  • Thanks for posting this. I just took up art in retirement, more than 50 years since Mrs. Kettlewood was my 9th grade art teacher in New Milford. She opened up a door, but it took me a long time to walk through.

  • I know Bea from a professional organization. I imagine she was a fabulous teacher. I am so happy that someone was able to capture her work digitally.