Photographer uses every tool in the kit

by Diane Urbani
Posted 7/26/23

Solace. It’s what one photographer wants...

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Photographer uses every tool in the kit


Solace. It’s what one photographer wants to give. 

In a world of jitterspeed edits, superhighways and TikTok, Brian Goodman invites you into a deep blue lake. 

A scarlet sky streaked with orange and gold - a space apart in the midst of downtown Port Townsend. 

Goodman is showing photographs from his “Solace of Space” collection, including a nine-foot-wide triptych of the sunset, in the “Outside In” exhibition at Northwind Art’s Jeanette Best Gallery. 

So yes, he’s a wanderer ever toting a camera. Yet Goodman seeks to blend the line between what looks like a photo and what people perceive as fine art. One may wonder, is that a watercolor? Or, did he use Photoshop? 

“I use every tool I can use to create,” Goodman, 65, says. 

These days, his desire is to turn each photograph into a refuge. 

Many of the works in “Outside In” have their origins on the Olympic Peninsula. 

“Reflection,” a tranquil vision of blue and green, is a view from Center Road near Chimacum. 

“Morning Fog” shows both fog and sun over Lake Crescent. “Rushing Water” is a closeup of the Sol Duc west of Port Angeles where the salmon leap. Alongside that photo at the gallery is “Coho Gold,” a picture Goodman’s friend Kerry Tremain made on the same day. 

Since “Outside In” opened in late June, Goodman has been volunteering to work in the gallery one day a week. 

“Welcome! Thanks for stopping by!” His voice booms through the afternoon.

“It’s fun. I have a really good time talking to people about my work and about art in general,” he said. 

Recently, a man stepped closer to Goodman’s piece titled “From the Ashes.” 

“That’s Yellowstone, isn’t it?” he asked. 

It is Yellowstone, after a fire. 

Scores of people are coming into the Jeanette Best Gallery to gaze at and ponder such artwork — by Goodman and Tremain and by Sara Mall Johani and her late husband Tom Jay. They also find books the artists have published, including “Still Here,” a collection of Goodman’s portraits of Chemakum tribal members. These are people who were called “extinct” in history texts. Two Julys ago, Goodman was invited to the Chemakum family reunion at H.J. Carroll County Park. There, he used his photography skills — and his extraordinary ability to connect with people — to truly see and make portraits of the tribe’s daughters, sons, parents and grandparents. 

“Still Here” shares the gallery shelves with Goodman’s book about one of California’s Japanese-American prison camps titled “Manzanar: Their Footsteps Remain,” and his new volume of photographs, “People Places Things.” 

This artist is good at capturing beauty, be it in portraits or ethereal landscapes. He says, however, that he’s not terribly good at taking compliments. The other night, Goodman was listening to jazz at the Bishop Hotel when a woman walked up, put a hand on his shoulder and told him his work had her awestruck. 

“I was taken aback,” Goodman said.   

As a member of the local arts community, Goodman’s fond hope is to see it grow and thrive. 

Rather than tell his neighbors, “You should do this or that,” he’s put himself out there.

“Two weeks after I moved to town, I introduced myself to Michael D’Alessandro [then director of the Northwind Arts Center], and asked, ‘What can I do to help?’”  

That was 2016, when Goodman and his wife relocated from Southern California.