Shakespeare once said, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - well actually he didn't say it, he wrote it. But what about a GODLIS by any other name, would that smell as sweet? As I was gobbling down my oatmeal this morning, I came across a new variation on my name while reading a review of the Who Shot Rock exhibition which opens tonight at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina, where I am mentioned more than once as Michael Godlis.
Now maybe there is another guy called Michael Godlis with a Patti Smith photograph, but I doubt it. And actually they say some really nice things about me (and my photos) in the article. But it's been one of those months for a photographer named GODLIS.
When you have a photograph in the Sunday NY Times, you really want to see "credit where credit is due", so to speak. In there, my photo of film director Kelly Reichardt - whose fabulous new film Meek's Cutoff will be opening in April - was credited to David Goodlis. Now, David is indeed my first name. And it would be cool to be mixed up with the great noir writer David Goodis, who wrote the book that Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player is based upon. But Goodlis just doesn't carry the weight of a name like Godlis. I mean Godlis sounds like an atheist - that's the point really. But Goodlis just sounds like a nice guy with a funny name.
Look, it's a real name. I didn't make it up to sound punk, like Johnny Rotten or Richard Hell. I was already Godlis. I just dropped my first name, when I published my first picture from CBGB's. But people seem to have a problem spelling a word that has God in it. Hey I've got some Jewish friends -why not, I'm a Godless Jew myself - who won't even spell my name out for crazy religious reasons. Oy vey! But at least they're not photo editors.
And then, for the trifecta this month, I have photos in a cool new book about the The Bowery by Eric Ferrara. Now Eric Ferrara is a really nice guy, and though I haven't seen the book yet, it looks pretty great in the preview on Amazon here. But damn if my damn name isn't spelled wrong. Here I'm Goldis. That's a pretty common one. Invert the D and the L and get rid of God. But again, it doesn't carry the weight of GODLIS. Hey at least in this case, I have just one name - well one wrong name.
So who knows, maybe Shakespeare was right. But it's not as I like it. This godless rose don't smell so sweet. You know, like the sweet smell of success.