San Francisco - Interviews
RANDY "MENDY" MENDOZA - Bay Area Salsa Photographer!
Many of you might have seen Randy "Mendy" Mendoza with digital camera in hand, scanning the dance floor for the perfect shot of the dancers. Here's a little insight into this Bay Area Salsa photographer extraordinaire!
- Photo courtesy of Chris Gomez.
- Interview by Julian of MamboCrazy.com
Full name, city of residence (and other details about your life you would
like to mention)?
Mendy Mendoza: Randy A. Mendoza, lives in Alameda with wife of 23 years, Coco (we were married within three weeks after initial meeting) and two teenaged children (Miya, 20, sophomore at San Jose State and Ray, 16, graduated one year early from high school).
in a musician in a band, correct?
inspired you to become involved in photographing the salsa scene in San
After working for 25 years at jobs I did not particularty enjoy doing, I decided I wanted to do something I am passionate about.
I am passionate first and foremost about Cuban dance and music. I really love watching good Cuban dancers. With my passion for the music and photography it was a natural progression to photograph the Salsa scene. I love capturing the moment between salsa dancers when they exchange glances or what I call "smile of satisfaction" only meant for their dance partner at that particular moment. I don't like to shoot dancers who are "stone face" like the character in the terminator, no smiles.
you going to venture out to other cities too?
strikes you the most about the Bay Area salsa scene (or dance scene in
There is one dancer I admire because of the positive vibes she projects: Pantea. Several months ago at the Dance Spectrum in Campbell, Pantea approached me and said something to the effect of "I hardly see you dance." I told her I'm have limited knowledge of patterns and therefore didn't want to bore her to death while dancing. One day I ran into Pantea at Café Cocomo and have not forgotten what she told me in Campbell; this time rather than wait for me to ask her, she grabbed me and said "since you still have not bothered to ask me to dance with you, let's go!". That is my type of person. No pretentiousness, no negative attitude.
a musician's perspective, any comments about dancing on different dance
The difference in dancing then compared to dancing now is that dancers were more courteous regarding the space dancers occupies. While dancing in the old days we confined ourselves to a small area always conscious of the dancers next to us. However today I hardly hear a dancer say "excuse me" to another dancer when bump or stepped on nowadays.
type of equipment do you use to take your photos?
also published a book of your photographs. Any details on that?