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Arts and Music

Local Talent: January 25, 2013

Fine Art Photographer Phyllis Goodfriend

After retiring from years of teaching at an elementary school and at the college level, Phyllis Goodfriend found a new life. She found photography. And she never looked back. Or stopped learning.

“I realized that photography was teaching me to see and that there was no limit to how much I could learn and develop as a photographer,” said Ms. Goodfriend, who along with her husband, Herbert, has lived in Great Neck for more than 43 years and raised their two sons in the community.

Her journey as a photographer began during a summer vacation in Vermont in the 1980s, when she and her husband drove along charming back roads, photographing picturesque barns. Next came a photographic safari to Kenya and Tanzania where she found her photos “as good as or better than those of photographers much more experienced.” Further encouragement came when people told her that she had an “eye.” Once she bought a computer and enjoyed the emerging technology, she was set for the new “digital world.”

In 1992 Ms. Goodfriend joined the Great Neck Camera Club, where she was delighted to learn from “more experienced members who were always willing to share their expertise.” As her skill and talent developed, she began exhibiting her work in both solo and group exhibits. She now belongs to three groups devoted to the study of photography.

Then, in 2009, Ms. Goodfriend addressed another love of her life in the art field, the museum world, when she completed a training program for docents at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn.

“From childhood, I have loved to go to art museums,” she said. “The Met was my second home.”

And so she found that volunteer work as a museum docent “dovetailed with my development as a photographer, sharpening my ability to see composition, light and color.” In addition, she loves the interaction with the public and the opportunity to use her teaching skills.

Phyllis Goodfriend worked for years as a reading specialist at the East Hills School in Roslyn, then went on to receive her Ph.D. at Hofstra University. She was an assistant professor at Hofstra and later an assistant professor at LIU Post.

 “My passion for and immersion in photography has allowed me to ‘see’ as I have never seen before,” she says on her website ( “I use my camera as a tool for expressing the essence of each experience—the perceived and the felt rather than the external reality.”

Although she says her “first and abiding love is for nature and landscape photography,” Ms. Goodfriend told Anton Newspapers that recently she has “become fascinated by places and objects that have been lost, abandoned or overlooked … I call this series ‘Lost and Found.’”

Viewers see, as Ms. Goodfriend puts it:

“Color, light and composition can transform even the most trivial bits and pieces of ordinary life into objects of arresting beauty.”