street photographer louis mendes \ new orleans \ usa
i managed to find about six hours to do some photography in new orleans over a two day period \ during that time i kept bumping into this amazing man with his wonderful old speedgraphic \ we spent some time chatting and finally we agreed to take photographs of each other as a memory of being in the big easy, my first time in the city since i was just 17 \ only later, much later did i discover that louis is a very well known photographer with his trademark hat and camera \ it was a privilege to spend some time with him and see him plying his trade on the streets \ photography can be hard work and the living ain’t easy….
“Mendes was born in a working-class family in Jamaica, Queens, New York in 1940. He was a young child when his elder sister handed him a camera to begin documenting family events. Later Mendes would study at the RCA Institute of Technology. After stints of working in retail including Macy's on 34th street, Mendes turned to photography.
Since the 1970s Mendes has traveled around the United States photographing people in public places. He has photographed celebrities including Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Cab Calloway, Tito Puente and Gordon Parks.
Mendes predominantly uses a Graflex Speed Graphic camera; he has also used a Polaroid Spectra, modified Polaroid 110b, View Camera and medium and large format cameras.
Mendes has been written about by David Gonzalez in the New York Times. He was featured in One Hundred Jobs: A Panorama of Work in the American City written by Ron Howell and with photographs by Ozier Muhammad. Mendes was cited for his flash techniques in Photographic Lighting Simplified by Susan McCartney. Mendes appears in Coney Island by Harvey Stein.
Mendes lives in Harlem, New York and has two daughters.”