Documentary Film and Photography

About Patricia Goudvis


For me, documentary photography and filmmaking have been a way to explore and engage with the wider world.  They’ve allowed me to go places, witness events and know people I otherwise never would have seen or met. They’ve forced me to be bolder, to look deeper, to question harder. I see photography and film as tools to reveal the human condition as well as to help transform it.

Born and raised in a small town in Ohio, I started my adventures in life by going off to Verde Valley School in Arizona, an unusual high school with an anthropology program including field trips to the Native American and Mexican cultures nearby.  That experience, more than any other, helped pave the way for my future connection to Central America.

It was in college when I discovered documentary photography. After graduation, I headed south with my cameras, through Mexico and on to Guatemala. It was 1977, just before the most horrific years in Guatemalan history -- except perhaps during the Conquest -- were about to unfold. I went to improve my Spanish and ended up falling in love with the people and the place: a perplexing, fascinating country that is at once brutal and beautiful.

That was the start of my photography and video career, which led me to explore various social issues and deepen my connection with Guatemala and Central America over three decades and counting. My love affair continues to this day and helped me realize another dream, to become a mother, which I did by adopting two Guatemalan-born children. We live in Cambridge, MA most of the time, with frequent visits to Guatemala, where a piece of my heart will always reside.