A Joy to be Hidden, A Disaster not to be Found
For as long as I can remember, I’ve stayed in the background shadows, having internalized confusing messages I’d heard as a child. Now I have children of my own. I’ve spent the last 17 years raising them with intention, trying desperately to recognize and honor the sound of my own voice, and theirs.
As a meditation and ongoing effort to notice my voice, I take pictures of flowers, seeing myself in their form, especially as they age. In the spirit of wanting to widen my scope but not having a clear goal in mind, I set about taking more photos, allowing the camera to lead the way. Examining the work as it emerged I noticed I was documenting what’s left of my daughters’ childhoods as the clock quickly ticks down to college. I saw my sadness, fear, and grief as I prepare to let go of our fairyland and hurtle toward the next stage of life where our tight-knit happy family no longer lives together full-time. But as I continued the work, something else emerged. I suddenly realized that my penchant for dark backgrounds, shadows, single subjects, and blur are like the flowers; substitutes for myself, revealing personality traits and even some secrets I’m still not quite ready to share. The photos in this series depict time spent with my children, but making these photos actually set about the unintended work of pulling myself out from the shadows, letting go of beliefs and behaviors that no longer work in my service, and exploring what it might be like to tiptoe out of the dark and into the light. The process has been burdensome, aggravating my lifelong battle between taking cover in the comfort and safety of invisibility, and the human need to be seen and heard; accepted as-is. Using aesthetic elements and photographic techniques as metaphor, this work begins my journey into the light. Indeed, there is risk to being noticed, but there is even greater risk to a life being left unfound, in the dark.
Jami Goodman is fine art photographer living in New Hampshire. Raised in Massachusetts, she earned her BS in Communicative Disorders at the University of
Rhode Island. She went on to Northeastern University where she received her MS in Applied Educational Psychology and CAGS in School Psychology. Jami worked as a school psychologist in New Hampshire for over a decade before deciding that she wanted to raise her young family full time. When time allowed, she took adult education classes in drawing, watercolor, and photography, and found the most joy in photographing flowers. A family crisis in 2019 brought life to a standstill, but Jami picked up her camera again when the pandemic hit in 2020. Photography has been a form of meditation and a way to find peace and creativity while living within the unknown.