For the past 50 years Geoff Goodyear’s camera has been at his side. Come June 5, his images of everyday life in central Newfoundland, and Labrador, will be on full display at the Mary March Provincial Museum, in Grand Falls-Windsor.
A native of the central town, now living in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Goodyear’s interest in photography goes back to his days at Grand Falls Academy as a teenager. Coming from a long line of photographers, Goodyear would often borrow his father’s camera before transitioning to a Topcon film camera.
Goodyear has embraced technology as it evolved, moving from 35-mm film to working with mirrorless digital cameras today.
“The core skills, like composition and lighting, don’t change,” he said of capturing photographs.
“But the advance into digital technology has been liberating because I don’t have to rely on anybody else… I can do everything from image capture, right through to post processing to printing.
The focus for Geoff Goodyear: My Photographic Journey starts in Newfoundland during his early years. It will dwell on key points of what was happening in the central area and Grand Falls-Windsor at the time, namely the 1970s. It revolves around high school life, senior and junior hockey, friends, the paper mill and other buildings that no longer exist.
Having worked for the local newspaper – The Advertiser, now The Central Voice – the display will also include images of current events of the day, such as flooding of the Exploits River and a forest fire.
Presenting a broad range of imagery, he said, will provide a chance for reflection for those who lived it.
“It’s sort of a time capsule that encompasses a whole bunch of different aspects of life in central Newfoundland back in the ‘70s,” he said.
Goodyear spent an entire fall going through the old film, picking out what he thought would be relative to the show.
“Basically it’s sort of reliving a misfit youth, as I call it,” he said. “It was an absolute joy going through it; what wonderful memories they brought back.”
Having lived in Labrador the past 24 years, the second half of the exhibit will focus on his later years as a photographer, examining the life, culture and scenery of Labrador.
“People on the island don’t necessarily have an accurate or keen knowledge of the northern part of their own province,” he said. “This represents a great opportunity for me to get some imagery of Labrador down on the island, and hopefully create a greater understanding of an amazing part of our province with exotic culture and amazing real estate.”
For a visual artist to be afforded an opportunity to exhibit is humbling for Goodyear, as the downside to the digital age often sees imagery live out its life in a virtual world.
“It’s an amazing experience to exhibit, but to exhibit back where the photographic journey started is an extra privilege,” he said.
Geoff Goodyear: My Photographic Journey will official open at the Mary March Provincial Museum June 5 and will run until Oct. 6.
Down memory lane
Mark Ferguson, manager of Collections and Exhibitions for The Rooms, said the idea to bring Geoff Goodyear’s talents to its regional museum division in Grand Falls-Windsor, stemmed from a previous exhibit Goodyear had done documenting Labrador.
“Through working with him and finding out his history, we realized he had a Grand Falls-Windsor connection… and had a large collection of work from that period. One of us decided it would be a nice idea to propose a show that documented both the early and later part of his photographic career,” he said, “a compare and contrast, to some extent, and to tell the story of his photographic journey.”
Ferguson said it also provides historical documentation of life in the 1970s.
“It should be a trip down memory lane for a lot of people,” that also highlights parts of Labrador that often aren't seen, he said.
While the The Rooms works with fine art displays, Ferguson said to exhibit documentary-style photography isn’t common.
“Because of the breadth and depth of the show, the content he has captured felt like a good fit,” he said.