A lot can happen in 37 years and Steve Goff has chronicled it all throughout the decades.
Goff, a semi-retired photo professor at Odessa College, has selections from his work called “37 Years, An Exhibition of Photography by Steve Goff,” at the Phillips Goff Gallery in Sedate Hall on campus. It will be up until Oct. 15.
Goff has logged 37 years at Odessa College and five years in Cleveland, Ohio.
Although he has stepped down from OC, Goff still teaches as an adjunct, as does his wife, Beckwith Thompson. He also is working on two photo books.
“I’m proud of the work that I’ve done along with teaching. Teaching takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. It’s kind of an art unto itself, I think and I really love teaching and doing that. But I’ve also been able to produce a lot of work during that period of time and I think that’s kind of unusual. I’m really proud of the artwork that’s in the gallery …,” Goff said.
“The things that are on the wall are major projects that I’ve done during this period of time,” he added.
His work dates back to 1984 and runs to the present. The images feature everything from industrial areas to flowers and Native American ceremonies and a sundance. Goff has used all kinds of cameras from film to cell phones.
It also has stills from movies he has photographed and several podiums with items people can look at and touch.
Along with the images, there is what he and Thompson call the 100 inches of fame made up of scrap book items such as newspaper clippings, buttons, notes, posters, flash cubes, floppy disks and personal photos. It’s the type of wall where you can see something different every time you look at it.
“… I’ve always been good about hanging on to things like that … I wanted to share with my colleagues some of the accomplishments that I’ve made. The school knows about most of these, but there are some things that are kind of new and just having my name and photo on the poster for an exhibition, or a story about the award that I won, and trip that I got to do to Paris. That was a long time ago in ‘88. …”
“I started doing these photographs in the industrial yards here in the Permian Basin. It was right at the end of a boom that was kind of going into a bust and the yards were just filled with equipment. I was just amazed by that because I’d never seen anything like that coming from Ohio. And the light here was so different than in Ohio. It’s much sharper, much crisper light,” Goff said.
He added that he spent three to three and a half years working on that project. He requested and received a grant from the Mid-American Arts Alliance.
“And then I was lucky enough to have been selected as one of the winners to go to Paris, France, for the Mois de la Photo a Paris, which is a celebration of photography. I did nothing but get up in the morning and go see photography shows and come back at night and fall in bed and rinse and repeat; same thing all week long,” Goff said.
Everything on display is related to his photography and teaching.
“… I’m pretty proud of how the show looks laid out, so I’m hoping that a lot of people will come and see the exhibit,” Goff said.
He acknowledged that the display captures a little bit of time periods throughout the years and that there are things he wishes he could have included.
“I think creative people, photographers and others, work in a project oriented style. And so for three and a half, four years, I did nothing but industrial yards. Now I’m involved with photographing flowers and Native American work. I did a really nice project on black and white infrared that’s not part of this show … It’s kind of like the highlight of the work that I’ve done during a period of time,” Goff said.
Much of the work also has been seen in shows around the state and country.
“I’m really proud of that,” he added.
Thompson said she loves the exhibit.
“He’s put a lot of work into it. … We met in a photo class in Junction and that portrait of me he took within the first few days of us meeting,” she recalled.
It’s a photo of her sitting on a tree stump.
Thompson said she’s part of about 85 percent of Goff’s wall of clippings, photos and other items.
“Putting it together was kind of like looking at our life together, artistically as well as teaching and … exhibits. We like making images together and sometimes of the same thing. We teach together and we exhibit together and we enter juried shows and sometimes we both get in; sometimes only one of us gets in; sometimes neither and a student does,” Thompson added.