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Shots in the Dark with David Godlis – Short Film Free on YouTube

Short Film on Punk Rock Photographer David Godlis

One of my favorite pictures inside CBGB’s during its heyday is of the Ramones. Joey Ramone stands in front of a gazed crowd, the mic-stand tilted toward them, the people tilted towards him. Johnny and Dee Dee to the side, hair blocking one of their faces (I believe Johnny), and blurred arms strum beaten guitars. There is only one person in the crowd looking directly at the camera, looking into the lens of a man who immortalized the scene we’ve all come to wish was still around, the early punk rock scene that took over CBGB’s. And the man behind the camera would be none other than David Godlis.

David Godlis‘ story is one like the many he captured – one of punk rock, and not in a musical sense, but more to the one that reads like someone unraveling their true potential with each chapter. For at the heart of the misfits who spun punk rock albums in those early years are crazy kids creating art by following their own path without the regard of peers and critics aiming to put us in our place. These pioneers, including David Godlis, often paved forward without a true understanding of their craft but with the knowing that “there is something there,” as Hilly Kristal would famously see it inside his venue called CBGB’s. With this in mind, and despite the art school rejections or roadblocks, I find it fitting that Godlis would come to perfect the style of street photography and capture the essence of the early punk rock scene that exploded in New York City at the club located on the Bowery.

As heard in the short film, Shots in the Dark with David Godlis (embedded below), and narrated by David Godlis, he goes on to explain how he allowed the street lights and atmosphere around CBGB’s to help capture those misfits and pioneers who launched punk rock. His aim was never to put pretty people in positions designing the atmosphere, but rather to capture the beings creating a scene, leaving them to be themselves. The film is well made (produced by 37th Degree & Tall Glass With Ice), an artwork in its own right, merging the real world with that of paintings and photography. An artwork crafted by artists (directed and animated by Lewie and Noah Kloster) talking about a particular artist’s art and craft. And now I think I understand the movie Inception, finally.

Anywho, the film, Shots in the Dark with David Godlis, is under 10 minutes and brings one of the best eras for punk to life behind the work of one of the masterminds who helped immortalize it.

Watch it, devour it, spread it, love it.

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