Mr. Goodrich… The Photographer?

The beloved math teacher shares the creative hobby he worked on during Mode Three with the Saint Joe community.

Jack Bailey, Staff Writer

The destroyer of derivatives. The incinerator of integrals. The assassin of AP Calculus.

Mr. Goodrich, well known for his expert teaching of mathematics,  was busy doing other things at Saint Joseph High School while in remote learning. Mr. Goodrich snapped creative photographs around the school, assembling them into an album entitled “Mode 3.” They not only showcase the photogenic spots around the school, but also the unique atmosphere of the school building in the midst of a pandemic. Mr. Goodrich’s photos reveal Saint Joe in a time like no other: a school building without students.

From all around the school, each has its own story to tell. One eye-catching piece is “Piano,” which features Mr. Goodrich’s signature black fedora on top of the piano outside of the chapel. One may wonder if there was any significance behind the fedora being on the piano, or if it was just a creative decision.

Mr. Goodrich explained that, “I had to go down to the attendance office, and I was walking back and I saw the gym lights were off… I had an idea, and I went back to my room and thought about which objects were left and I saw the hat hanging, and I was like ‘perfect’. It kind of came together.”

From this, it appears that Mr. Goodrich’s photography style is very improvisational, as he would see an opportunity and take it, while also adding his own artistic spin to it.

I had an idea, and I went back to my room and thought about which objects were left and I saw the hat hanging, and I was like ‘perfect’. It kind of came together”

— Mr. Goodrich

One photo that makes every viewer intrigued is “Track”, which features two sneakers on the track that look like they are in the midst of running, even though there is no body. The impressive creativity behind the shot is compelling to think about how the photo was set up.

Mr. Goodrich’s story is, “We had a warm day in November, and I was outside eating lunch, and on the nice days I like to walk the track afterwards… and I just had the idea. I kicked off my shoes and took a picture of my shoes, but I knew in my head that I wanted to prop them up. I had my water bottle from lunch, and I used that to prop it up… it was like ten minutes of me just outside without shoes on trying to set up the right picture.”

Besides Mr. Goodrich’s clear dedication to the art of photography (the track in November can be cold on the feet), this story once again proves his mentality of thinking on the spot. Mr. Goodrich had an idea, but added more and went above-and-beyond to create a photo that he could truly be proud of and call his best work.

There are twenty photos in “Mode 3,” but there is one critical thing missing from a photo album set in a school: the students. The reason for no students is because the photos were taken during Mode Three online learning, where every student was learning at home on the computer. Mr. Goodrich was definitely impacted by the new teaching environment, as he described it as, “everything [the school] is deserted. It’s a weird feeling, a surreal feeling working like that.”

The empty school was a large factor in his photos as well, as his thought process was, “We had this huge space that was being barely used… and I got the idea, especially with the water bottle left in my room, of just left-behind items in this huge empty space and I take it from their perspective.”

The items are in the forefront. The theme of loneliness is clearly seen through the empty school, and gains impact by how the items interact with that emptiness.

“Mode 3” was a great addition to Mr. Goodrich’s photography collection, as it shows a powerful image of the pandemic through the lens of a teacher.

“I do have a pretty nice camera that was a Christmas gift, but I got it early for Thanksgiving. I like taking pictures, but I like scenery pictures more than pictures of me and my friends. I’ve always kind of gravitated towards that… the idea [“Mode 3″] struck me, and I was thinking of different things in my cabinet and home, all of the Saint Joe gear I have. I looked at each item, and was like ‘Where could this be left behind? Where could this item’s story be?’. The project kind of developed on its own.”

“Mode 3” was truly a creation of the times. A school building without students is no common occurrence, and math teacher Mr. Goodrich made sure to take advantage of this opportunity. From a simple concept, the album expanded as he went allowing “Mode 3” to stand as a historical testament to the COVID-19 Pandemic.