It was already a thrill for me to visit an iconic retailer for all things photography. But when I rounded the corner to 34th street feeling successful with my purchase, there Louis Mendes stood. For decades he’s captured portraits in NYC using his Polaroid, and I recognized him immediately from a video that captured my attention over a year ago. In my excitement I whispered to Sophia, “I recognize that man! Let’s go say hello!”
Before you know it, there I stood introducing myself. Blubbering on about how, “I KNOW YOU!” It was just so darn exciting, I nearly cried. He was lovely, and knows his value. So the words fell right out of my mouth in my total surprise, when I asked if I could capture his portrait. Easy enough for me to do quickly, since my camera was around my neck.
In less than a second, he looked down at my gear and asked, “Do you know how to use that thing?”
Yes! Yes I do…
“Ok honey, you have one shot. And don’t underexpose me.”
So I quickly adjusted my settings and followed his instruction, releasing the shutter only once. It was a perfect exposure, if I do say so myself. And I was proud to show my new friend the back of my camera.
“Well look at that! Looks good! Now, can you print that for me now?”
No. No I can’t…
And there our chat evolved in to a discussion on the power of print. He offered to capture Sophia and my portrait for $50. This may have been an inflated rate from his normal ask, but knowing how much I dislike being bargained with over my own rates I happily paid and can’t wait to cross paths with him again.