Doctors Open New Art Show at Gallery 363

By MICHAEL WADDELL

Two Mid-South doctors with an eye for nature photography and exotic locales opened their new art show on South Main Street last week.

Dr. Tom Gettelfinger, left, and Dr. Bob Laster are showing their work this month at Gallery 363 in the South Main Historic Arts District.

(Photo Courtesy of Michael Waddell)

The show, which features the work of Dr. Tom Gettelfinger and Dr. Bob Laster, will run through Dec. 24 at Gallery 363, at 363 S. Main St.

Each artist selected nine pieces for the event, including some photos taken in Memphis and around the world. Gettelfinger’s predominantly black-and-white photography showcases pyramids on the horizon in Egypt, dancers doing the tango in Buenos Aires, a skyscraper in Shanghai and a steamboat making its way up the Mississippi River.

Laster’s color photos include the snow-covered Japanese bridge at the Memphis Botanic Garden, a sunset on Galloway Golf Course, the bright lights of the Midway at the Mid-South Fair during the 1990s, and the Greek island of Mykonos.

“They have different styles but are very enjoyable together. It makes for a great show,” said Ken Hall of Gallery 363.

Hall and Allen Projects partner Michel Allen curate and manage the gallery, which opened in March and has enjoyed success throughout this year.

The idea for a show featuring doctors came about after Hall noticed some amazing photos displayed on the walls of one of the doctors’ clinics.

It’s interesting to note that the medical specialties of the two doctors relate directly to the world of photography, as Gettelfinger is an eye doctor and Laster interprets X-rays.

Gettelfinger practices ophthalmology at Memphis Eye & Cataract Associates in Memphis and is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee. His involvement with teaching and training in ophthalmology programs in third-world countries including Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Zaire, China, Myanmar and Brazil has given him ample chances for interesting photography.

“Doing volunteer surgery allowed me to get into the culture in a way that would not have been possible as a tourist,” said Gettelfinger, who believes he began developing an eye for photography while in high school.

“I was editor of my high school and college yearbooks. I looked at a lot of photos, and I think it gave me an eye. I like to carry a camera at all times and document a lot of different things. I’ve always really liked small cameras,” said Gettelfinger, whose first camera was a Minox that he bought when he went to Europe during college.

Laster is a native Memphian who works at Semmes-Murphey Clinic as an interventional radiologist. He is a photography enthusiast who served on the board of directors for the Memphis Camera Club from 1996 to 2007 and as its president from 2005 to 2006.

“They have different styles but are very enjoyable together. It makes for a great show.”

–Ken Hall
Gallery 363

“I first had a camera that belonged to my family when I was 7 or 8 years old, and I really loved it,” Laster said. “Then about 15 years ago I realized that I needed to get a hobby, so I joined the Memphis Camera Club where there were a lot of people with similar interests.”

Laster lives close to Memphis Botanic Garden, and he enjoys going there to take pictures, including his striking shot of the snowy Japanese bridge. Laster vividly remembers taking the photo.

“The sun was coming through the ice crystals. It was like a fairyland. The crystals were dropping off, and there was still just enough snow left to highlight it,” he said. “I can be over to the botanic gardens in five minutes and take pictures before the snow melts, so I’m really in the perfect location.”

Many of his floral pieces, which look like paintings, were taken inside his home.

Friday’s show was originally scheduled to include the work of a third area doctor, Dr. David Sloas, but he was called away on a family emergency and will now have his own solo show that will open Dec. 28 at Gallery 363.

A portion of the proceeds from all shows at the gallery benefit Leadership Memphis.