Photographer Jerry Connally’s work coming to Port Arthur for 12-week exhibit; known for lightning storm pictures

Published 12:02 am Monday, April 24, 2023

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The Museum of the Gulf Coast begins its next exhibit with an opening reception for Lightning in a Camera: The Photography of Jerry Connally in the Dunn Gallery from 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 6.

Wine and refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.

Connally’s photographs have been recognized repeatedly in area contests and include Best in Show Awards in the Nederland Heritage Festival, Ice House Museum and Riverfest photography contests — along with a first place in the 2022 Nederland Heritage Festival and a People’s Choice Award Beaumont Camera Club 2023.

He is a Silsbee High School graduate and Port Neches resident.
Connally knows exactly how long he has been snapping photos. He bought a simple point-and-shoot camera when his granddaughter was born 12 years ago. He estimates that he has taken hundreds of images of her.

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His journey to becoming an award-winning photographer was a surprise even to him. His service station technician vocation requires him to drive hundreds of miles across nearly every road in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.

As he began taking more pictures of the outdoor scenery he saw on his daily drive home, Jerry realized he needed a better camera. That led to the purchase of an Olympus E-M1 Mark III, and “taking the long way home,” became more of a daily occurrence.

After he joined a local camera club and read a book called Zen Photography, his path was set. What followed was the unleashing of a gift that was probably there all along. Connally’s photos capture the spectacular natural imagery of our region and are a reminder of how fortunate we are to be a part of it.

The exhibit includes images of birds, flowers, insects and a rarely seen white rainbow. He is perhaps best known for his photography of lightning storms.

“You want to see the storm moving to the left or right, or moving away, but never toward you,” he said.

Curator Robert Fong said Connally always brings something extra to his images.

“His photograph of the MLK Bridge as Hurricane Harvey was approaching is my favorite of the bridge,” Fong said. “He has taken so many great photos that it was difficult to narrow the exhibit down to the ones we have chosen.”

According to Connally, taking a large number of photographs was important to his development as a photographer.

“Sometimes I would get up at 3 in the morning and go take some pictures, or if there was a meteor shower, I might stay up all night,” he said.

Oh, and the point-and-shoot camera Jerry started with … his granddaughter Kylie has it now, and she is well on her way to following in her grandfather’s footsteps.

Lightning in a Camera: The Photography of Jerry Connally will be on display from May 6 to July 29 in the Dunn Gallery at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur.

Opening reception sponsored by the Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau.