Nebula Gallery Features Award-Winning Photography of UT Dallas Alum Jerry Comer through Aug. 22
Colorful fishing boats sit anchored to the bank of a harbor lined with picturesque fishing huts from years past. Engaging shapes and shadows reflect playfully on the water’s dark surface as a radiant rainbow dazzles from above in this sleepy, charming fishing village in Vardo, Norway.
This is just one of nearly 30 photos taken by UT Dallas alumnus Jerry Comer MS’77 that will be part of a new exhibit opening July 22 in the Nebula Gallery located in the Eugene McDermott Library. Comer, a retired project manager and engineer, will talk about his work at a reception that will be held on Friday, July 26 from 3 to 5 p.m.
The exhibit, “Selected Works, 1958-Present,” is a wide-ranging collection of portrait, nature and architectural photography that features stunning images of fascinating people, flowers, birds, various objects and architectural shots. Many of the photos were taken during Comer’s travels for work or while vacationing with his wife Marilyn. Some of the photos have won local and regional awards.
Comer’s collection is heartfelt and demonstrates beauty in nature and people with striking photos, several capturing the wrinkles and fine lines of elderly people, gracefully depicting faces that have lived. One of those images, titled “Rag Picker,” was shot in the remote town of Coihaique, Chile in 1981 when Comer was there with a crew to build a 13-meter satellite communication antenna.
Comer took a beautiful photograph of a rag picker walking the small town of 30,000 people in the southern Andes Mountains near the tip of South America carrying a large bag over his shoulder and smoking a cigarette. He was wandering around town collecting items he could possibly sell and loudly announcing whatever came into his mind.
Another photo of an intriguing older man is titled “Guitar Player,” which earned Comer first place in the Dallas Camera Club’s JJ Spurlock Creative Portraiture category in 2008. “Get Your Own Spot” depicts three elderly women begging in front of a cathedral in Tallin, Estonia, where Comer and his wife were visiting in 2009. The women, who are holding their canes in one hand and containers for money in the other, don’t want to share their prime spot for begging from the locals (not the tourists). The photograph won the State Fair of Texas’ “Best in Show, black and white” and the Richardson Photo Contest “Best of Show, adult division,” in 2009 and first place “Print of the Year” in the Gulf States Camera Club Council in 2010.
The exhibit also features “Reflecting Pool” taken in Seville, Spain in 2010 when Comer and his wife were on a cruise from London to Monte Carlo. This image won the City of Richardson’s “Best of Show, Proficient Division” in 2011.
Comer, who earned a master’s degree in management from UT Dallas, began collecting rare and important photographs in the 1970’s. He decided the time had come to protect the images for future generations and donated hundreds of photographs, books and periodicals to the University in 2004. Marked by both its diversity and high quality, the Comer Collection of Photography contains 704 photographs dating from 1940 to the present, as well as 664 books and 531 periodicals relating to modern and contemporary art and photography and aviation.
Comer also donated a series of 304 aviation-themed photographs by renowned photographer Bob Seidemann to the library’s Special Collections and Archives Division in 2017. The collection, “Airplane as Art” has been described as one of the most ambitious photography portfolio projects of the 20th century. It contains signed portraits of pilots, aerobatic teams, astronauts, cosmonauts and others. There are only 10 of these portfolios in existence; one is in the J. Paul Getty Museum and another at the Boeing Company.
“Selected Works, 1958-Present” will be on display in the Nebula Gallery between July 22 and August 22. Visit the gallery between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Nebula Gallery is located in the lobby of the Special Collections and Archives Division on the third floor, Room MC 3.504. If you would like information on how to get your art displayed in the gallery, contact Cassandra Zawojek at 972-883-3855 or [email protected].