The Palette of Nostalgia

Featured / What Makes It Great? / May 30, 2019
A time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you
~Paul Simon
By Suzanne Révy

Indulge me, if you will, as I take a journey down memory lane. My recollections of the 1970’s and 1980’s are colored by the dyes used in the ubiquitous slide films of the time. The emotional turmoil of my teen years is memorialized in the luscious reds and greens of Kodachrome and in the soft blue hues of Ektachrome. The palette of nostalgia, courtesy of Kodak. During that era, photographer John Goodman exploited the same suggestive slide films and the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA is showing a stirring selection of prints made from his rediscovered slides in “John Goodman: not recent color,” currently on view through July 31st, 2019.

“Shop / Combat Zone” 1973 by John Goodman, courtesy of the artist and the Howard Yezerski Gallery.

“General Cinema” 1985 by John Goodman, courtesy of the artist and the Howard Yezerski Gallery

Unlike my own family’s slides, Goodman turned his careful attention to the unnoticed details of everyday life as he started his photojournalism career in and around Boston and New England. He was drawn to gigantic gas guzzling cars, glowing cigarette vending machines and cocoon-like telephone booths, often considered eyesores at the time. And yet, these pictures serve as a time capsule for the era’s mid-century designs which now seem rather elegant in their simplicity. Those gas guzzlers look like sculpture compared to today’s jelly bean shaped cars, and the once commonplace rectangular phone booth has disappeared altogether. In “Truro” from 1980, a solitary figure on the phone is bathed in honeyed afternoon light, recalling both a less frenzied time and just how private those public booths felt.

“Phone Booth, Truro” 1980 by John Goodman, courtesy of the artist and the Howard Yezerski Gallery

Goodman’s sense of light imbues his pictures with breathtaking emotional resonance and induces a sense of longing. Signature traces of American life in the 1970’s and ’80’s – a pungent sense of tone, texture and aroma – fill the gallery without a trace of saccharine sentimentality. The defining essence of those decades manifests itself in the skeptical expression of a woman caught driving with curlers in her hair and the boldly painted nails of a waitress taking an order. Details are key, and Goodman’s eye for those quotidian gems offers an uncommonly clear record of American culture during a tumultuous time. Susan Sontag noted that we cannot possess the present, but through photography we can possess the past. Goodman’s photographs are a palpable gift of late 20th century American life.

“Breakfast” April, 1987 by John Goodman courtesy of the artist and the Howard Yezerski Gallery

(Featured Image) “Woman Driver, South Boston” 1977 by John Goodman, courtesy of the artist and the Howard Yezerski Gallery

For more information:
https://addison.andover.edu/Exhibitions/Goodman/Pages/default.aspx?in=On+View+Now






Suzanne Revy




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3 Comments

on July 11, 2019

[…] street photographer in the 1970s and 1980s, on view through July 31st, 2019. For our review, go to: https://whatwillyouremember.com/john-goodman-not-recent-color-addison-gallery-of-american-art-andove…   Also at the Addison, the multi-media exhibit “Harlem: In Situ,” featuring the work of many […]

on September 4, 2019

[…] Howard Yezerski Gallery – Boston-based photographer John Goodman’s solo exhibit Not Recent reaches into the past to bring together classic B&W and deliciously saturated color prints, brimming with humor and pathos. On view from September 6h – October 15th, 2019, there will be an Artist’s Reception on First Friday, September 6th, 2019. Read our review of Goodman’s recent show at the Addison Gallery of American Art: https://whatwillyouremember.com/john-goodman-not-recent-color-addison-gallery-of-american-art-andove… […]

on October 8, 2019

[…] Howard Yezerski Gallery – Boston-based photographer John Goodman’s solo exhibit Not Recent reaches into the past to bring together classic B&W and deliciously saturated color prints, brimming with humor and pathos. On view  through October 15th, 2019, the gallery will be open on First Friday, October 4th, 2019. Read our review of Goodman’s recent show at the Addison Gallery of American Art: https://whatwillyouremember.com/john-goodman-not-recent-color-addison-gallery-of-american-art-andove… […]



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