4 Selected projects

Steve Goff 

CREATIVE. STYLISH. AWARD-WINNING.

MY CHOSEN STYLES The first three projects make use of my appreciation of the historical photographic process called, Tintype, by mixing it with a New Millennium tool. Each of these formats is square with the mottled edge of a 19th-century handmade print. The last project is mainly a 35mm and a color-based look into theTraditional Native American Ceremonies of the Lakota Sioux. 

FLORA DOMESTICA I work on this garden project at the beginning or end of a rare day when there is no wind in West Texas. I am striving to convey to others my experience in the garden that is rich with a luminous light.

THEATRICAL Portraits of actors in costume in during dress-rehearsals as well as before and after stage productions.

SUN DANCE The Sun Dance is a 2000-year-old prayer ceremony that I have helped support for more than a decade and have helped to bear witness with my camera. Almost two decades ago I was asked to photograph the ancient Lakota ceremony, the Sun Dance, which ensures the life of the oyate, the people, for another year. I have made a collection of photographs that depicts the Lone Star Sun Dance, one of the most traditional dances of our Lakota friends. 

CHIEF LEONARD CROW DOG One year, quite unexpectedly Chief Leonard Crow Dog, the leader of the ceremony and the sun dance chief for eighty-nine different tribes, announced to the people that I would be photographing in the Mystery Circle during the Dance. It is with deep gratitude and thanks to Leonard Crow Dog for my participation in the wiwang wacipi.

Flora Domestica       .        Theatrical         .         Sun Dance        .       Chief Leonard Crow Dog

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Sun Dance Project






Each year since 1998, people from all over the United States and across our planet have come to the Texas hill country to participate in an ancient ceremony, the sun dance. The Lakota name for the ceremony is wiwang wacipi, which means, “they dance gazing at the sun.” This ceremony, like in many places in South Dakota, is carried out in the very traditional manner of our friends’ people. 

Our Lakota friends consider the sun dance the highest ceremony because it not only promotes health; happiness; and healing, it also ensures the life of the oyate, the people, for another year.

Photographing during a sun dance is generally prohibited. Through some extraordinary circumstances, for more than a decade, I have been allowed to photograph various aspects of the Lone Star Sun Dance, which happens every June outside of Lampasas, Texas. The Tree of Life stands in the center of the arbor, the Mystery Circle, and It not only gives Its life for the sake of the people, but It also prays for the people continually 24/7 and 365 days until once again the ceremonial new year begins.

It has been my experience that clarity and sharpness of seeing do not necessarily correlate with the physical sharpness of the image produced. The soft dreamy mood in these images invites the viewer to drift with me into serene, spiritual places surrounded by the magic and beauty of nature.

I usually make these dramatic images during dress-rehearsals. The subject and I stand in the silence of the wings during a stage production. The use of a monochrome color palette enhances the simplicity of the old world style of presentation.

Chief Leonard Crow Dog, the leader of the ceremony and the sun dance chief for eighty-nine different tribes, announced to the people that I would be photographing in the Mystery Circle during the Dance. 

Steve Goff, Professor, and Program Head of Photography has taught at Odessa College since 1984. He received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Ohio University and taught at the Maine Photographic Workshops, Lakeland and Cuyahoga Community Colleges, and Cleveland State University before moving to Texas. He has been awarded the Aid to Individual Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council and the Fellowship Award in Photography, from the Mid-America Arts Alliance/National Endowment for the Arts and represented the Fellowship winners at Mois de la Photo in Paris, France. 

Over the years, in addition to his being the only full-time professor and formerly the Chair of the Art Department, Steve has maintained an extensive statewide exhibition record. Recently, he was a finalist for the 2017 Texas Biennial Award. Before that, Steve was an invited artist for both the Marfa Open and also This Side of Paradise: New Photographic Work by Texas Artists at FotoFest in Houston, Texas.

Steve was the recipient of the 2017 OC Honors Educator of the Year Award. Twice he represented Odessa College for the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award, which is made annually to professors for superior teaching at the college level. In the fall of 2018, Odessa College, considered by the Aspen Institute as one of the top five community colleges in the nation, showed its appreciation to Steve and another art colleague for their distinguished teaching careers by dedicating and naming a new gallery space after them.

Steve volunteers his photographic services for Home Hospice in Odessa. He and his students volunteer their photography documentation for Keep Odessa Beautiful. For almost twenty years Steve has been a member on the Board of Directors of the Texas Photographic Society, and currently, he serves as the TPS President and is also on the Board of Directors of Odessa Arts.

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