Deceased Estates chronicles a handful of homes, a “time capsule”, as Goodall succinctly puts it, which captures a specific era of interiors where bold patterns gleefully clash between walls and floors and from room to room. As Goodall explains, “these spaces….will become increasingly more difficult to come across, and many of the estates I have photographed have since been knocked down, or had a complete over-haul.” Goodall’s artful photography provides a glimpse into lives lived and left in varying states of physical and emotional disrepair and this is where the strength of these images lie. There is a flip side too to the stagnant anger lingering beneath tobacco stained walls, peeling lino, and graffiti; the youthful innocence of a child’s closet, the home-proud, neatly made bed, and a whisper of its former occupant’s history with an old black and white photograph still resting on the fireside mantel.
Shot on large format cameras, Goodall used only natural light and was often able to take her time over a few hours adjusting the light meter to gauge the perfect balance. On other occasions time or privacy was not a luxury when shooting either had to be undertaken with the real estate agent present or during an open home. Goodall describes her experience of these spaces as “emotionally powerful”, gleaning tid bits about the former owner’s history from the agents, or more strikingly from walls pocked with knife wounds, holes borne, no doubt, from angry fists and inscribed with hateful graffiti prose: “This family is full of shit yous kicked me & my 8 mth old baby out into tha cold 13.04.02 mother fuckers”.
Completing a Bachelor of Design, majoring in photography, in 2006, Goodall currently works as a full time high school teacher of art and photography in Auckland and is mother to Mason, her two and a half year old son. Like most creatives living a ‘double life’, she admits that finding time to work on personal photography projects is a difficult juggling act. Her husband, Troy Goodall, a hugely talented advertising photographer, is a constant source of encouragement. Influenced by contemporary American photographers Joel Sternfeld, Phillip Lorca DiCorcia and Joel Meyerowitz, Goodall says her current photographic ‘obsessions’ include geometric shapes, light and shadow, stained glass windows and paper folding. Although Goodall has no plans to sell her photographic prints, she is happy to consider enquiries. To contact Jess Goodall directly click here or to view more of her work click here.
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