To generate income, Bell worked both as a motion-picture cameraman for television commercials as well as a photographer for print ads. The archive contains a 16mm reel of motion picture commercials Bell shot for such clients as Busch Gardens, Southwestern Bell, and U.S. Steel.
Many of the print advertisements for which Bell was hired to photograph targeted the African American community. The archive contains numerous laminated copies of these ads, that include Maxwell House Coffee, Miller Beer, IBM Computers, Gulf Gasoline, El Producto Cigars, the US Navy, and WLIB 1190 African American Radio.
Many of Bell’s advertising photographs appeared in periodicals targeting the African American community during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, especially Black Enterprise, Ebony, and The Urbanite: Images of the American Negro magazines. We have compiled a reference list of these publications and have begun sourcing the original publications for inclusion in the collection.
Bell’s focus on female models also led to commissions for fashion photographs; a number of tear sheets from these published ads exist in the archive.