Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Photographer Ghost

Photogenic New Orleans and....
A few blocks off of Bourbon St is a quiet residential district with classic French Quarter architecture I was walking with my wife taking some snaps.  As my wife and I walked up to one of the intersections I noticed a finely dressed gentlemen on the corner to the right of us. He wore a dapper hat and long black wool overcoat and carried what looked to be a vintage camera.

Across the street in front of us was a beige home of the period with great iron work. I decided I wanted to focus my shot on a close up of the iron work so I walked across the street toward the house, framed my shot and took this one.

My wife and I started to walk away from the corner where the well dressed man stood.  Curiosity got the better of me. I had to meet the this guy with a vintage camera.

The introduction:
I walked back and he said he was waiting for me to come over and introduce myself. He mentioned that those that love photography come over to him often. I thought to myself what an unusual statement, and confirmed that photography is in my blood but still so much to learn. I asked him about his camera and turns out it is a Graflex Speed Graphic (1951 or 1959, I think) in mint condition. I admitted with some embarrassment that I only know digital. He asked me my name and I asked his, he gave me his name as Louis Mendes. We chatted a bit more and just before I said goodbye (my wife was being very patient back across the street) he encouraged me to take a different composition shot of the house across the street...this one with one of the horse head posts in the foreground.

I framed the shot in the viewfinder and knew instantly this would be much better shot. I took several, thanked him for the shot and I hustled over to meet up with my wife. Here is the shot:

Spooky gone:
I excitedly updated my wife on the conversation (a few seconds) and I looked back and he was gone! Not just gone but spooky gone...I even commented to my wife that maybe he was a ghost there to help wayward photographers like me!

Later that day we met up with our friends for dinner and talked about the upcoming game between the Razorbacks and the Buckeyes (GO BUCKS)! I mentioned the by-chance meeting with Mr Mendes and how spooky it was. We chucked a bit in general how strange New Orleans seems to be.

A famous Photographer - very much alive!
Turns out, the Louis Mendes is not a ghost but a very famous portrait/street photographer that travels the the United States photographing people in public places. Read about him here.  Here is a link to a New York Times article on Louis - and to his Facebook page -

Thank you Louis for a great experience, the photo tip and a chance to read up on your great career!  Quite the honor!

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