Al Disbro (R) snaps a photo of one of the famous Seward Johnson Statues – a photographer – we brought to our community. Disbro’s work is on display through April 29 at the Wagon Wheel Salon/Lobby in an exhibit called “Our Town.”
Al Disbro (R) snaps a photo of one of the famous Seward Johnson Statues – a photographer – we brought to our community. Disbro’s work is on display through April 29 at the Wagon Wheel Salon/Lobby in an exhibit called “Our Town.”
You might not know him, but you certainly have seen him.

He’s the guy who is all over the community. Big events and small, he covers them all. He can be seen with his trusty camera, tripod and bag, and sometimes he even took his cat on his adventures.

He wears faded jeans cinched around his miniscule waist. A crisp shirt completes the outfit unless he throws on a well-worn vest or jacket. He sports a greying beard and moustache along with a beloved hat. If it is a little worse for the wear, his western hat will always be perched on his head in a recognizable trademark. The hat will be straw in the heat of summer, then warm felt in the winter months. He drives a pickup truck and has no pretentions or intentions of grandeur.

His name is Al Disbro, and he has become a fixture, recognizable to all in our community, for his love of recording the moments and experiences that occur regularly in our lives. His generosity is legend, and his good humor sustains him as he never meets a stranger.  

He has helped the Animal Welfare League with fund-raising calendar projects along with photos to help clients in choosing a pet. His professional quality work is in constant demand, including his dedication to providing photography for the local fire departments. He loves the people in service to our community such as police and fire departments. He even carries a radio so he can get to the inferno at the same time as the fire department.

Al and I co-wrote a book about Winona Lake that features much of his photography as well as his historical cache of old photos. I caught up with him not long ago as he was dedicating several days to take official photos for the entire Winona Lake Police Department.

“Hey Al,” I smiled. “How is it going?”

“Darla!” He was happy to see me. “Come with me!”

I followed him into the room he was setting up for the shots of each officer. “Sit over there,” he said, “I need to check the lighting.”  

I sat. Next thing you know I am totally surprised when I get a very nice portrait delivered by Al to my office in about a week. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

Al was born and raised in southern Indiana, where he met and married his sweetheart, Jo. He was introduced to photography when he was about 10 years old, and it has stuck with him through his colorful career.

He and Jo moved to Fort Wayne when he was offered a job at Kelly Chevrolet. He was one of the youngest management people in the car dealership arena and spent time in sales, parts, service and more. They moved to Colorado for another exciting opportunity, then moved back to Indiana as another chapter opened. Disbro ended his career (other than photography) at The Lake City Bank financial offices, where he worked up till retirement. Today he is the consummate professional, taking photos for practically every event ever covered in the community.

His photography is excellent, and you can have a look at it by visiting the Wagon Wheel Theater Salon/Lobby exhibit called “Our Town” that will highlight his work. You must visit the exhibit on “Our Town,” because you just might find yourself in one of his photos!

Disbro’s work is on view through April 29. The gallery/salon at Wagon Wheel is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Admission (except on show nights) is free for visitors to the gallery.



Upcoming And Current Events

• Dean Jansen, Photography, Warsaw City Hall Gallery, through May 31

• Wagon Wheel Salon, featuring Al Disbro with “Our Town” photography exhibit.

Through April 29.  

• Edgewood student art show at Lakeland Art Gallery, through March 25. 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw

• Grace College, Mount Memorial Gallery, “Drawn & Quartered” by Chris Anderson. Exhibit opens at 6:30 p.m. March 13 and runs through April 13. Also free lecture is planned at 7:30 p.m. March 14 at Westminster Hall, 105 Ninth St., Winona Lake.

If you would like to exhibit at Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery or submit an event, please contact Darla McCammon at mcdar7@gmail.com or 574-527-4044 (leave message). Darla’s website is at www.darlamc.com.