An Intern's Inside Look at Don Bell's "Portraits of Wisdom"

Ever since I was young, I have had an interest in photography. Simply with a keen eye and a camera you can unlock the world around you to better define your own personality. That’s why I was really excited to check out the Don Bell photography exhibit in the 100 Pearl Street Gallery to explore Bell’s intriguing works.

“Portraits of Wisdom” by Don Bell features black-and-white portraits that give a compelling and candid look into the faces of everyday people from Philadelphia to Hartford. Don pairs these images of individuals from all walks of life including students, artists, attorneys and others with answers to the question “What have you learned?” Seeking to capture life’s priceless but fleeting moments, Bell provides a rare glimpse into the worlds of the strangers we pass by everyday without much thought.

Looking at the portraits more closely, I noticed the exhibition’s wide emotional range from lighthearted and clever to very serious. One portrait that touched me in particular was “Ginny,” a Hyperrealistic Artist. Although she has a very sad look in her eyes in her portrait, her quote discusses the importance of taking care of your parents as they get older, claiming that even though it wouldn’t end well, it would be the most meaningful thing you ever did. This selfless sentiment, hidden behind a simple statement, conveyed a very thought-provoking and powerful message intensified by the sad tones from the portrait itself.

Michele poses with Bell’s photography

Switching gears slightly, as a student myself, some of my favorite pieces included those also currently enrolled in college. One quote that really spoke to me was from “Jay” and read, “Do what you love, even if they say you’ll be poor.” After this summer, I will be a senior at Eastern Connecticut State University, and getting ready to pick a career path and there’s a lot of pressure to go into certain fields simply because they make decent money. Although at this point I don’t know what my future holds, I hope I can find a position that fully supports and that I love—the best of both worlds. 

To learn more about Don Bell, visit or head to his website: You can also celebrate Bell’s work at the exhibition’s opening reception on June 14 from 5 to 7pm with Bell himself.

(Entry prepared by Michele Lodigiani, Summer Marketing Intern at the Arts Council)

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