100 Strangers: "Google Me" Famous Photographer on the Subway, Queens, NY

 

Louis Mendes

So I hopped on the J train today heading to Manhattan from Queens. While the train slows down to make it's first stop, I notice an older gentlemen carrying this vintage styled Graflex camera. My instant thought was "I have to get a shot of that, I will get a shot of that...". When the train stops, I hop off one car just to get on the same car he was on. As soon I step inside, I calmly approached him. My first question for him was "Do you mind if I get a shot of you with that camera, it's pretty fly". He nods his head signaling that I may. After taking a few shots, I ask him "so that camera still works, huh?". He nods his head again signaling yes. Now after a while I'm staring at this man and I'm trying to figure out if I know him or then again if I should know him. I've studied a lot of great photographers from back in the day and for some reason, I felt like I've seen this man's work before. So I try to ask him the safest question I knew "So how long have you been shooting?". His first words to me? "Google Me, Louis Mendes"

Come to find out this man is very legendary in NY. He has photographed celebrities including Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Cab Calloway, Tito Puente and even the great Gordon Parks.

After the train stopped, I reached over to shake his hand. That same day every shot I took was a money shot. I'm never washing my hand again... LOL