Willie - Photographer

What follows below in italics is the original blog post, when I was under the impression that the guy with the camera was Louis Mendes. We asked the photographer for an eMail address and he said Louis Mendes via Facebook.  Looked it up, thought he didn't particularly look the same but... well the guy on Facebook was always wearing a hat and how many guys could be out and about with a Speed Graphic with a Polaroid back.   Well obviously at least two.   I sent a link to this blog post to Louis Mendes and he just volleyed that it wasn't him but his pal and protege Willie.  Apologies to Louis. It still was a ton of fun and all the rest still applies.  JEN 3/2/2011.

Louis Willie was outside Pastis when we finished dinner.  After a couple of Polaroid snaps from Louis's Willie's enormous Speed Graphic with a Polaroid back, I got to turn the tables on a New York photographic iconer with the 5D Mk II and a 35 f1.4L.  Louis Willie had the advantage of a flash (and talent), I was using what little light there was.  All my shots were taken at f1.4 at ISO 1600 with the shutter speed either just above or below 1/35.   B&W conversion was done with NIKSoftware's Silver Efex Pro asking for faux Ilford XP2 Super 400. Dodging and burning applied as needed to deal with the shadows and the lights and to make the Speed Graphic pop.

Click here for Louis's facebook page and here for a NYT photo essay and finally here for some scoop on Louis's tooling.  BTW, Louis is 70 and makes his living as result of hauling that huge camera around Manhattan.  Time to stop bellyaching about a DSLR and fast lenses. 

From the NYT piece:  “Most photographers don’t have a good picture of themselves,” he explained. “They think nobody can take as good a picture as they can. So, I prove them wrong. There’s good money there.”  

Here are the best of my attempts to get a good shot of Louis Willie, his of me is forsuredly better than mine of him. There assuredly is no photographic money, not good nor bad, to be found around or about here.  Hah!



Acela from South Station to Penn Station, then dinner at Pastis at the bottom of 9th Avenue at the corner of Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District.

There wasn't any room at the bar, so uncharacteristically we sat at a table.  It was quite a cool table, stuck in the corner in the barroom.  The next table was relatively close by and after a while it was given to a couple of guys who just blew in for the weekend from the Netherlands.

Their names are on a business card somewhere around here.  That is a TBD, so for now just the photos.

The Maritime

Home base for the evening, in the center of the Meatpacking District, just down the street from the midpoint entrance to the High Line and the focus of this adventure.  Originally the HQ of the National Maritime Union. Nice, despite its beginnings as home to a bunch of lefties.

Top to bottom, the lobby, outside at night and morning looking west to the Hudson along 16th street.