“Be the change you want to see in your community.”
Isn’t that something to live by? Living Fort Wayne thinks so, and that’s why we’ve decided to bring back our Faces of the Fort series – this time with a twist.
There are individuals in this city who do great things. We see their faces at events and hear their stories in all the local publications. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, public figures…they are great people. And, they’re making a difference. But here’s the thing, they’re not the only people. We live in a city with people from all cultures, from every corner of the United States, of all ages, all religions, all walks of life. And we all make a difference.
The people of Fort Wayne create the “fabric of our community.” With Living Fort Wayne’s Faces of the Fort, I have the privilege of introducing you to a few of them. I am thrilled to begin with Adam Garland.
Adam Garland is a 26 year old transplant from Bloomington, IN. His father was a car dealer and his mother was an art historian and curator. In 2003, Adam and his family moved to Fort Wayne and he attended Northrop High School. He hated it. In 2007, his mother passed away, leaving behind her collection of cameras and a broken, lost son.
Adam had plans to go to school to become a pastor. But, the death of his mother left him in a dark place with a lack of enthusiasm for even his tangible existence, much less his spiritual one. He started taking pictures with his mother’s cameras. Adam found that through pictures, he could transform and shift his experiences. He could see things from a different perspective. “Photography let light back into my life,” he explained to me, readily.
So that was the re-birth of Adam Garland.
“I didn’t like Fort Wayne at first,” he laughed. So, I asked him what he likes about it now. Adam explained to me that he didn’t start to like our city until he started biking and exploring neighborhoods. Traveling from one end of town to the other, on a bike with a camera on his back, he began to see how it all came together. And he watched it all through his camera lens.
It was this growth and transformation for Adam that fuels his fire for our community today. He is a strong advocate of bike share and public transportation. “When people start to explore other parts of our city, it brings us all together. It’s so easy to be involved in your community, but you have to be the change you want to see in your community.” Brilliant.
Adam is certainly being the change he wants to see. He will call himself a “facilitator” in that he uses his photography to help people see themselves and their surroundings in the most beautiful light. He uses his network to connect others. In our talk, outside of The Deck on a ridiculously busy Friday evening, we saw all different kinds of people. Men, women, rich, poor, children and gray old couples. Adam was taking pictures…and showing off his brand new bike. “The way our city is evolving, we are proving that we have something to offer. We are proving that Fort Wayne matters. All of these people coming together are part of what’ s making our city great again,” he says.
Behind every great city is a great flag. Adam has started to make some waves in ‘the city that matters.’ He made an observation and has turned it into a passion and a goal. “I love Fort Wayne’s current flag, let me just say that,” Adam says, feeling the need to clarify. “But with all of this change, and all of this pride, it never gets flown, anywhere.” In fact, Adam says that there is only one place in town that you can even purchase our flag. So, he has taken it upon himself to design a new one. And it seems to be getting some attention.
“It’s important because it is literally the fabric of our city,” he goes on. “A flag should represent who you are and where you came from.” But he explains that we also have the opportunity to communicate where we are going. “The flag is like a visible language for what Fort Wayne is, and its design can help reshape what’s important to us. We must remember our history, but it is so important to keep moving forward.”
It’s not easy to get a city’s flag changed. But, he’s well on his way, with the city taking notice. “Whether I create the flag or not, it needs to be flown. We have a story to tell.”
I think that exact statement, “We have a story to tell,” is what convinced me Adam was the perfect person to begin our Faces of the Fort series. He is someone who many of you probably don’t know yet. He’s tall and lanky, “a goofy looking guy with a big nose,” (his words). But he is beautiful, because he sees the beauty in all of us. He takes our pictures. “I want people to feel that joy of seeing an amazing moment in their life from another person’s perspective. I want them to feel beautiful.”
Taking people’s photograph is an intimate thing. Adam is grateful for every opportunity he has to show that we are all human, and all part of this world, the state of Indiana, the city of Fort Wayne, the ’05, the ’07, the ’02. We are all in this together, and we are making a difference.
If you know of someone who should be highlighted in our Faces of the Fort series, get their permission, then send us their information at firstname.lastname@example.org.