Life and work
Mendes was born in a working-class family in Jamaica, Queens, New York, in 1940. He was a young child when his elder sister handed him a camera to begin documenting family events. Later Mendes would study at the RCA Institute of Technology. After stints of working in retail including Macy's on 34th street, Mendes turned to photography.
Since the 1970s Mendes has traveled around the United States photographing people in public places. He has photographed celebrities including Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Cab Calloway, Tito Puente and Gordon Parks.
Mendes has been written about by David Gonzalez in the New York Times. He was featured in One Hundred Jobs: A Panorama of Work in the American City (The New Press, 2000) written by Ron Howell and with photographs by Ozier Muhammad. Mendes was cited for his flash techniques in Photographic Lighting Simplified (Allworth Press, 2003) by Susan McCartney. Mendes appears in Coney Island (W. W. Norton & Company, 1998) by Harvey Stein.
- The Magic Within. Self published by Raymond Ortiz / chiefbooks using Blurb, 2010. 
- Mestrado Fotografo. Self published by Raymond Ortiz / chiefbooks using Blurb, 2010. 
- One Of A Kind. Self published by Raymond Ortiz / chiefbooks using Blurb, 2010. 
- Monumental. Self published by Raymond Ortiz / chiefbooks using Blurb, 2010. 
- Official website
- Selection of Louis Mendes photographs at The New York Times
- 'Making money as a photographer the old-fashioned way' at The Indian Express