“In the ‘70s … most people thought of photos as family pictures, snapshots and Life Magazine,” Mendes said.
Today, photography is much more widely viewed as a valid art form, and while Mendes has had to adapt to changes in the industry (certain types of film and paper have become extinct in recent years), he remains faithful to many of the traditional approaches he learned when he was first exploring the art. This includes a strong leaning toward black and white film, both for the long-term quality of the silver gelatin prints and for the staggering variation of shades between one spectrum and the other – the “infinite number of silvers and grays and blacks and whites between ultimate black and ultimate white.”
“Photography allows us to see the world in more detail than our naked eye,” he said. “It’s so detailed that it’s unlike the world we see. That helps keep me interested in searching for the surprise, the delight, the wonder – those things that keep you busting your ass when no one’s paying you to do it.”
Mendes is represented at downtown gallery Ann Tower Gallery and also has a close working relationship with Institute 193, who printed his most recent book and helped him set up the successful Kickstarter campaign that funded it. He is among the variety of local artists who will present work that is in some fashion inspired by “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the first installment of the Carnegie Classics series, which connects visual, literary and performing art around a common classic piece of literature.
For more information on Mendes, and to view some photographs online, visit www.guymendes.com.
“Portraits” is a monthly column highlighting people who are making an impact on Lexington’s art, culture and entertainment scene. To submit ideas for the column, please e-mail Saraya Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.