updated 12/09/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/09/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST
Taking pictures has been Mendoza's favorite pastime since his boyhood in Havana, where he was born in 1941. After earning degrees from Yale and Harvard, he became an architect. But, "disillusioned with the office routine," he chucked his job in 1973 for the freedom and penury of life as a photographic artist. The publication of Ernie: A Photographer's Memoir (Capra Press, $5.95) caps Mendoza's biggest year, which included a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and an autobiographical show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. "I recently saw Ernie and told him he was going to be famous," Mendoza says. "He looked at me awhile, then yawned."