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FORT WAYNE, IND. (WPTA21)-“The closest I’ve ever come to what you might call a Divine encounter has been when I was out in nature,” says Fort Wayne photographer Jim Gabbard.

If he’s not developing magic in the dark room you’ll likely find Jim Gabbard on a walk in the woods.

It’s not just the photo but it’s the experience of being someplace that is emotionally powerful for me,” he says.

In his decades long career Jim Gabbard has searched for what he calls the spiritual connection between humans and the world they occupy. Organic divinity you might call it, that feeling that there is something greater in the universe than the human experience. Gabbard’s nature photographs say it best. From spectacular subjects to the very humble they inspire the sense of wonder we’ve all felt about our place in the world. His latest body of work is published in his new book, ‘From It to Thou’, meditations on a landscape and its occupants sacred to Native Americans and very much under attack by a modern world bent on profit and the environment it seems to be altering.

A lot of it is disappearing so quickly now because of environmental changes,” he says. “Some of it’s simply trying to record what’s going on before it’s all gone. Maybe a couple of my images might help in some way preserving what might be gone in the future.

Gabbard says he sees the divine not just in nature. He’s traveled abroad capturing moments of human interaction that also speak to him of the spiritual world. He says he finds it in the innocence of children and the time worn faces of the elderly..the one full of wonder, the other wise to the notion that our time on earth is precious and very short. Jim Gabbard is humble about his work and his skill but you can’t help but be changed by what his photographs say, and that is a success any artist would be pleased to achieve.

I’m not gonna be Monet I’m not gonna be Van Gogh. But if I can affect a few people with my images at the end of the day I’ll be tremendously satisfied.”

Eric Olson reporting out in 21 Country.

Eric Olson

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