Saturday, July 31, 2010

One Of A Kind

Meet New York street photographer Louis Mendes. I ran into him while attending a photo exhibit in Brooklyn. He was doing what he does best - talking to anyone about his modified Speed Graphic film camera (popular in the 1930's, 40's and 50's). The always sharply dress Mendes, 70, shoots portraits for up to $20 a pop on Polaroid film. Yes - Polaroid is still in business and still makes film for cameras even in this digital age. Louis makes his living using this unique camera by traveling all over the U.S. to conventions, concerts any most every big event. And he's usually the only guy on the scene with this type of camera so he draws lots of attention ... and customers. He's been a fixture in New York locales for decades. And he makes a good portrait subject for a run and gun digital shooter like me. I found two stories on Mendes in the NY Times archive - the first one - in 1995 - was done when he was 55 years old. He says he doesn't plan to retire anytime soon.

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