"I have been told by my instructors that every photograph made is a reflection of the maker’s soul. I believe this is true when one commits oneself to photography or any art medium. It has been a deeply reflective process as well. If my images have changed over the years, it is because of my more focused interest in story telling. I find I enjoy getting to know my subject matter in a more personal way."
- Barbara Goodbody
"Barbara Goodbody's images express her deep spiritual connection to the world. Her work allows me to experience meditation in a visual form."
- Meg Weston, President emeritus of Maine Media Workshops + College
Barbara Goodbody moved to Maine in 1973 after working on Senator Edmund S. Muskie’s presidential campaign where she met many wonderful people from Maine. Goodbody was immediately embraced by the community in Portland and, while raising three children, she became active in Portland Junior League and helped found Big Brothers Big Sisters. In 1986, in mid-life, she found her personal passion in photography inspired by attending the then Maine Photographic Workshop (now Maine Media Workshops) in Rockport, Maine. Goodbody has exhibited at venues such as Addison Woolley Gallery in Portland, VoxPhotographs in Portland, College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, the Art Gallery at the University of New England in Portland, Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, and at UNESCO in Paris, France for the International Women’s Day celebration. Her work is in the Ernst Haas Memorial Collection at Portland Museum of Art. She is a member of the advisory board at Maine Museum of Photographic Arts.
“I have always been interested in photography, but it wasn’t until I turned 50 that I committed myself to it,” Goodbody says. She attended the Maine Photographic Workshop as a “birthday present to myself.” She found her passion there, and appreciated the guidance and support of the instructors. At one of the workshops, in 1987, she met a fellow photographer who invited her and a small group of others to travel to India’s villages and sacred sites. “I’ve always been interested in comparative religions, particularly those faiths that are earth-based, and the environmental-spiritual connection,” she says. “My travels to India awakened my curiosity to those other faiths.” Relating her images to “spiritual consciousness” is a large part of Goodbody’s art. The images she created on that trip became her first professional exhibition, Images of India: Villages and Sacred Sites, which traveled across the United States from 1996 to 2000. Since then, Goodbody’s art has been exhibited, published, and collected internationally. “I never dreamed my photographs would hang on someone’s wall. I just did it for myself,” she says. “It’s never too late to start!”
SUNRISE VIII, 2009, Inkjet Print, 36 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches
Sunrise VIII is part of a series of eight photographs of the sunrise over Penobscot Bay in Camden. The collection, Salutation to the Dawn, was made into a small-limited edition accordion book, designed by Stephen Stinehour of Stinehour Editions. The piercing orange sunlight seems to pour from the sky, bathing the earth in shimmering gold. She captured the image with a 35 mm digital camera and her own creativity—the image was not manipulated during printing. The contrasts in tone are dramatic, lending an epic quality to the image that suits Goodbody’s inspiration. She visited Newgrange, the prehistoric monument in Ireland that is illuminated by the sun on the winter solstice. “I was stunned by it,” she says. Goodbody was fascinated by the “ray of sun penetrating the earth, the earth and sun coming together, and the complete blending of them.” In her photograph, the sunrise, an event that happens every day, is given a mythical significance that commands the viewer’s attention. Goodbody explains that she aims to “put an edge” on her images: “it’s not just the sunrise, there’s something else going on here.”
You can see the original version of this article in The Canvas section of the September 2014 issue of Maine Home+Design.
If you would like to contact Barbara about her work, she can be reach at email@example.com