What's in a name?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by john_cook|1, May 12, 2003.

  1. At the start of my photography career I learned the importance of an
    artistic self image. I enrolled in art school in Los Angeles during
    the Age of Aquarius, less than a week after military discharge. You
    know the look: crew cut, white shirt, bow tie. I was avoided like an
    infectious disease. It was only after I grew a full beard and
    adopted the countenance of Grizzly Adams/Ulysses S. Grant, that I
    was able to find true happiness.

    This image thing extends to equipment, as well. Once while doing an
    industrial job, I overheard the art director ask the in-house
    photographer if he thought I knew what I was doing. He replied that
    I must be good - I was using a Linhof.

    Now the only thing holding me back is my plain name. I have long
    since come to live with the fact that as an Anglo-Saxon American
    adult male, when anything goes wrong anywhere in the world it’s
    always my fault.

    Anyway, there is a very successful, clever and talented photographer
    just up the road from here, named Clement Calisher. He richly
    deserves all his success. But I can’t help wondering how much more
    I might have had if my name had been as artistic as his.

    So I have been looking for some time for a suitably wonderful “nom
    de camera”. After much diligent searching, I stumbled across an old
    pair of work gloves in the garden shed. Their manufacturer has the
    perfect name for a sensitive and poetic photographer.

    So I have ordered a new batch of business cards with the
    name: “Wells Lamont”.
  2. No No NO. Lamont Wells. That way you get a bit of an ethnic edge as well.
  3. I feel for you John. I also have a non-remarkable name. Often people refer to me as "Kevin (Bacon)" without thinking and/or noticing that they've called me by the wrong name. And thoughts of the 80's teen-dance movie "Footloose" aren't usually associated with artistic expression. ;-)
  4. Can't say I've ever noticed the problem ;)

    But be sure to pick a name people can pronounce! "Tjugen" is unpronounceable even in Norwegian...
  5. May I suggest "Effield Stawp." Your clients can call you "Eff Stawp."
  6. Let's see Scott, if my daughter married your son....
  7. >Now the only thing holding me back is my plain name. I have long since come to live with the fact that as an Anglo-Saxon American adult male, when anything goes wrong anywhere in the world it’s always my fault.

    No, only when Anglo-Saxon American adult males create problems should they take the blame. Sensitivity and poeticism aside, how about some basic honesty?

    How about "Puhtheteec Wankur"--a nice Indo-European mix for ya.
  8. It's all in the marketing, John. You might consider, for example, simply prepending a "Captain", to add a bit of flair (as opposed to flare, eye patch optional, of course). Or, simply change your first name to something catchy and memorable, like "Frye". (That, however, would preclude any association with Scott (Bacon).) Or, drop the h to be a "Jon". The choices are myriad.

    Affected names, however, often seem, well, affected. It shows real courage to face the world with the name thrust upon one by his or her parents. I remind myself of that every time someone dashes off to the bathroom to "ralph" after drinking too much.
  9. Dear John,<P>"Comedy is not pretty," said philosopher Steve Martin. To which I'll
    add: and it is best left to professionals.<P>Speaking of which:<P>I was visiting with
    GWB, Karl "boy Genius" Rove, Rush "The Fat Man" L., Anne "Blow -- and I do mean
    Blow -- torch" Coulter & Dick "I'm only advertising" Cheney the other day and your
    name came up. While most of us all were blaming Colin P & Condelezza for getting us
    involved with all these foreigners, especially those who are ethnically & linguistically
    challenged , even the ones that live in our great country. <P>
    GWB finally joined the conversation with his usual pith & brilliance, just two words:
    "John Cook." Everyone instantly realized that indeed the troubles of the world are
    indeed all your fault.
  10. Thank you Mr Vener, you've made my week.
  11. Whatever you do, don't use "Wells" or "Well". When you say it, everyone will assume that they heard wrong and write it down as something else. Perhaps "Willis" or "Will". This is because they assume that nobody could possibly have a name that is more commonly experienced as a word.

    I've been written down as "Tom" and "Tim" more times than I care to remember.

    These days I'm lucky, as I can simply say "Yes, like the truck" when people give me that baffled gaze.

    P.S. I look forward to going to Russia some day, just to see if the reaction there is any different.
  12. Thank-you for your opinions.

    Several years ago, I telephoned Sinar-Bron in NYC and spoke with a remarkable gentleman with a beautiful German accent. He began the conversation with, "Good Morning. My this is Horst Schlitz speaking. Please don't try to say it fast."


  13. Lamont, you old dog, you. Brilliant post. Really, top shelf. Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Minor White, Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Amy Arbus, and more recently; John Sexton, Nicholas Nixon, Phillip Lorca Dicorcia, Judith Joy Ross, Jock Sturges, etc.. I simply wouldn't bother with print soiled by an inartistic signature. It's just soooo pedestrian. I'll look for you at the club, old man.
    J. Jennings De Fehr III
  14. Willis,

    Having given your plight some thought, I have come up with the perfect solution for you.

    "Fergal P. Bollander"

    What could be better?
  15. Think of the really famous people who are known by a single name: Madonna, Napoleon, Topol, Sammy, Frankie, Capucine, Cantinflas, God, Lassie, Popeye, et al.
  16. No no no John, you have to make it sound exotic....how about Jon Bianconero.....Which loosely translated from italian would be John black and white....lol....or if you do color how about Jon roossostrada....would mean john red stairs, but sounds cool..no?

    My problems is exactly the opposite, unpronounceable name to anglo people.
  17. John,

    I enjoyed this one too.

    A long time ago I was drinking brandy one night with my girlfriend and we decided our names were too common, she asked me what I'd do. I told her I'd use my first initial and then my middle name. "Steve Hamley" becomes "S. Arthur Hamley". Sounds snooty (or hilarious depending on how much brandy you've had). Thereafter, whenever I got to her, that's what I was called.

    Or, why not use "Taylor Hobson" in front of your surname? Who could resist a photo from a photographer with that name?

    Enjoyed the thread, Thanks!

  18. Steve - better yet, go by "Sir Arthur Hamley" and pretend you've been knighted.
    Everybody loves a knight.
  19. about horst at sinar bron.... i used to work with several ex-sinar
    bron employees and they said that the saying finished like this-

    hi, my name is horst scmidt, please don't say it to fast or it will
    sound like horse $hit.

    about the name, try one word or abbreviations.

    some examples from NYC, akos, jamil g.s, classics such as hiro.

    or try making up words in your bio such as "know for his

    or mixing it up- ethnic sounding names that don't go together such as
    tyrone ponopolus, or francois getz.

    why not try the symbol route..... the photographer formally know as
    john cook............

  20. Do you mean Clemens Kalisher in Stockbridge MA?

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