Fort Wayne photographer explores “thou” not “it” in new nature exhibit

This photo is among a new collection on exhibit at the Garrett Museum of Art beginning Friday. CONTRIBUTED

GARRETT — “From It to Thou,” the new exhibit at Garrett Museum of Art, is based on Joseph Campbell’s 1988 book, “The Power of Myth.”

An opening reception is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30. The exhibit runs from Nov. 30-Dec. 23.

The exhibit will include a reflective experience from 6-6:45 p.m. that will offer a chance for visitors to view the images, read the quotes and listen to the audio quotes in a quiet setting. Viewers will have time to contemplate the meaning behind the words, images and audio and reflect on their relationship with nature.

Artist talks will take place Friday from 6:45-7 p.m., with the general reception from 7-8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

The book consists of a series of discussions with Bill Moyers relating to the understanding of mythology and the quest for spiritual enlightenment.

As a longtime believer in the idea that everything around us is connected and that people should be good stewards of the earth, photographer Jim Gabbard created a series of photographs based on a simple idea that encompasses looking at things not as an “it” but as a “thou.”

This photo of a mountain range taken by Jim Gabbard is part of an exhibit at the Garrett Museum of Art. CONTRIBUTED

Several photos were taken on land considered sacred to the Native Americans.

“I have intentionally chosen to primarily photograph simple elements of nature to foster the idea that everything is connected. Trees, water, land and forests were all sacred to the Native Americans, and believing this allowed them to live in harmony without destroying the world around them,” Gabbard said.

The photos in the exhibit and the idea behind them are the artist’s attempt to showcase the sacred aspect of life around us.

Gabbard lives and works in Fort Wayne and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University. He works full-time as an instructor of photography in the Department of Art and Design at Purdue Fort Wayne. In addition to his teaching, he serves as director of Garrett Museum of Art.

Gabbard regularly exhibits in galleries and museums nationally and internationally. He has self-published two books showcasing his work during travels to Italy.

His new book, “From It to Thou,” co-authored with Peter Bella, assistant professor at the University of Central Arkansas, will be featured and available for purchase at the opening reception and the exhibit to follow. Gabbard has been published in “Black and White,” a magazine of acclaimed photography. His fine-art photography can be seen online at

Peter Bella is an artist, designer and a design educator. Currently he is an assistant professor of art and graphic design at the University of Central Arkansas. He has taught a variety of design courses ranging from branding and advertising to typography as well as packaging to graphic design history. Beyond his academic career, Bella accrued more than 20 years as a professional designer with design experience encompassing public relations, advertising, marketing, publications design and freelance design.

Bella identifies the emergence of the handmade movement as it has slowly gained popularity over the last decade, which is fueled by designers, clients, and customers returning to the roots of craft. This humanistic revolution promotes aesthetics that value the spirit of human touch and human design with a fusion of phenomenology and experiential purpose at its core, he said. For clarity, phenomenology focuses on sensory qualities from the first-person point of view — such as seeing and hearing — in the pursuit of meaning. These experiences empower and give value to human connections. More of his designs are on his website,

Garrett Museum of Art is at 100 S. Randolph St. in downtown Garrett. Museum hours are Friday 5-8 p.m., Saturday 4-7 p.m., and Sunday 1-4 p.m.