Archiver > NEW-ZEALAND > 2008-08 > 1218153665

From: "Olwyn Whitehouse" <>
Subject: [nz] Gladys Goodall - On 2 June 2008 she celebrated her 100thBirthday in Christchurch.
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 19:01:28 -0500


2 June 2003 and 14 September 2002 The Christchurch Press

Gladys M. Goodall postcards were in the black and white during the 1950's,
1960's and 1970's and her postcards were mostly sold by Whitcome & Tombs
dominated the New Zealand market. Thousands of postcards of her images bear
testimony to her photographic skills for which she was awarded a QSM.
Gladys Goodall travelled New Zealand for 40 years snapping images for
postcards. Those images tell a remarkable story of a changing nation. An
English tourist approached the middle-aged woman photographing the Sign of
the Takahe above Christchurch. "You must be Gladys Goodall," he said.
"That's right," Mrs Goodall replied, and carried on focusing. "Then I have
to ask, how did you get that picture inside the Homer Tunnel?" But Gladys
Goodall had thousands of images published in nearly 40 years snapping scenes
for postcards and calendars. The former farm girl and nurse poked her lens
into every corner of New Zealand as sole photographer for Whitcombe and
Tombs. She became interested in photography while tramping in the Southern
Alps during World War 2. She wanted to record the magnificent sights. She
had a few pictures published. Then she set up an arrangement with her
husband to sell photographs to his busloads of tourists. This led to her
first commission - for a set of postcards of the famous Pancake Rocks for
the Punakaiki tearooms. Demand grew and soon she had her own business in
Christchurch, supplying scenic pictures. Gladys Goodall could not afford to
convert to colour, but printing and stationery business Whitcombe and Tombs
came to the rescue. She signed a contract to provide images as required,
from North Cape to Stewart Island, for the company's annual calendars and
its postcard subsidiary, Felicity Cards. For a start, she travelled in
rental cars. Then she bought her first car, a new Ford Zephyr Mark III, in
which she clocked up 101,000 miles (162,000km), before crashing near Thames.
She could not count the ferry crossings of Cook Strait. She says people
never appreciated how much travelling she had to do, or what "appalling
dumps" she stayed at in small towns, in the days before motels. On all sorts
of roads she had only one puncture (near Gisborne) and used snow chains only
once. The girl from South Otago was never fazed by motorways or crowded
cities. Her job was not just a case of rolling up to a scenic spot and
snapping a few shots. She had to plan ahead for all the elements of a
picture to be right - light, shade, tide, colour, sky, leaves, people. For
one picture, she waited four years. Wanganui's Castle Cliff Beach was
notoriously difficult to photograph. Once she headed there, but had her
rental car wrecked when the car behind slammed into her at a police road
block. When she finally found the elements right, she arranged to shoot from
a plane. The people of Wanganui didn't like it because it didn't show the
beach as they saw it. Sometimes she had to "arrange" the elements. She
talked nicely to railways people so they would shovel extra coal on and make
a black plume of smoke above the locomotive stamping up to Arthurs Pass. Her
Homer Tunnel shot was obtained by persuading some truck drivers to slide
past her car in the tunnel with all lights blazing, with her camera on a
90-second exposure. One of her favourites was a photograph of Lake Wanaka.
She decided the scene needed a few seagulls in the foreground. She waited
and waited, but no gulls came. Then a drunk staggered along. In his wake,
drawn by the smell of alcohol, she thinks, came the gulls. Mrs Goodall spoke
to the man, the gulls alighted, and she got her picture. Many pictures had
to be updated over the years, as dress styles changed and buildings altered
skylines. Each time Mrs Goodall went back to a scene, she captured it from a
different perspective. Some images captured historic scenes - building the
Beehive, opening the spillway at Benmore Dam. With no training and unable to
read the instructions that came with her German camera, Mrs Goodall taught
herself by trial and error. She enjoyed experimenting with lenses, filters,
and exposure times. Gladys Goodall was a JP from 1949 to 1999. Appointed as
one of only two women, she made it clear at her first association meeting
she was not there to make the tea. She never did. Postcards and negatives
from her 40-year career have been presented to the Alexander Turnbull


By Gladys GOODALL.

7 January 2000

The Christchurch Press

Acclaimed photographer GLADYS GOODALL says..

1. What is your favourite vice? ... Nice clothes. My mother made all of her
seven daughters beautiful frocks; we loved our pretty dresses.

2. What is your favourite invention? ... The motor car. By car, I had 25
years earning my living photographing the most beautiful country on earth.

4. What is your most treasured possession? ... My home and all the happy
times we have had together; times shared with family and friends.

5. What do you consider is your greatest achievement? ... To be acclaimed by
fellow photographers and the public for the painstaking research and
photography I did of New Zealand. It took imagination and hard work to
create each picture.

6. Given a completely free day, what would you do? ... I would love to go to
Arthurs Pass during November to breathe the mountain air, to see the native
flowers, and to enjoy once again the feeling of freedom that spurred me on
to photograph it all.

7. What is your greatest fear? ... None really. I take care on the road
while driving, I enjoy life and my fellow men.

8. What is your greatest regret? ... My father told me as a child how he was
the first person in New Zealand to win a bicycle race with two wheels the
same. Everyone laughed at this funny bike, but it was the death of the penny
farthing bikes. I did not ask him where on earth it was held, probably in

9. What is your favourite journey/ place? ... One is the Far North, above
Kaitaia, where I have spent memorable hours on the beautiful beaches, near
the pohutukawa trees, and among the people who settled there.

10. Name three people, dead or alive, you most admire - why? ... Sir Truby
King, because he left a heritage of good health - 34 100-year-olds in
Christchurch speaks volumes. Kate Sheppard, because she gave women their
freedom. Queen Elizabeth, for her grace and fortitude through trials and
tribulations, for her interest in the welfare of the man in the street.

11. How would you like to die? ... As God so wills. My husband and I would
like to be together to our end.

12. Who do you consider to be the New Zealander of the century? ... Sir
Truby King. Against great odds and ridicule, he founded the Plunket Society.

13. What would you like to be doing five years from now? ... Being mobile,
and sharing life with new and younger friends, as I would be 96 by then.

14. Who in the world would you most like to meet? ... Queen Elizabeth.


5 February 2003 The Christchurch Press

Laurence Eagle, has catalogued all 1813 known cards, with reproductions of
many. The first book, Photographs by Gladys Goodall, contains the 205 South
Island black and white photographs she took up to 1960. Mrs Goodall said she
had considered throwing the pictures out about 1958, when colour photography
became the rage. The photos were saved when her sister, Edna, decided to
visit from Sydney, and Gladys arranged them in an album for her. The second
book is Panoramic Photography of Gladys Goodall - panoramic because the
images were captured throughout New Zealand. These pictures are in colour.
She was contracted by publishers Whitcombe and Tombs in 1960 to produce work
for postcards. Mrs Goodall drove 500,000km to take her photographs. Mrs
Goodall, who retired her trusty 4x5 Linhof camera in 1980 at the age of 72.
"I worked from the tip of Cape Reinga to Stewart Island, and east to west as
well." In 1959, colour film became widely available - no-one wanted black
and white - and she was contracted to the then Whitcombe and Tombs retail
chain to supply scenic postcards. A long-time member of the Christchurch
Photographic Society, she had to teach herself to use her camera, which came
with instructions in German. Mrs Goodall retired irrevocably in 1980. "I
didn't want to see another camera," she said.

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