Weekend Column: Mystery Doorman Becomes International Sensation

By Mildred Alpern

The entrance to my apartment building was awash with morning light. The June sun streamed through the filigreed cast iron door and splashed on an adjacent wall. The doorman on guard was silhouetted in sharp outline and then replicated in dim shadow on the wall. The scene evolved in an array of sepia tones.

“Stop for a moment,” I requested the doorman and camera ready, aimed my lens at his figure in the mix of light and muted shadow play.

On my computer screen his portrait evoked mystery, subtle drama,  and metamorphosis. Over the course of this past summer, I submitted the image to four juried gallery exhibitions in Vermont, South Carolina, Oregon and Rome, Italy. (The Metamorphosis exhibit at the Darkroom Gallery in Vt., the Contemporary Portrait exhibit at the SE Center for Photography in South Carolina, the Photo Shoot: 2018 at the Black Box Gallery in Oregon, and the Shadows exhibit at the Loosen Art Gallery in Rome.) The portrait was accepted in all of the gallery exhibits which were curated by prominent jurors. Loosen Art Gallery even informed me that my image was chosen from among the 778 images that had been submitted.

So who is this mystery man traveling the United States from coast to coast and now crossing the Atlantic Ocean for an exhibition in Rome? He is the doorman of 575 West End Avenue, Lulzim Prelvukas from Kosovo, known to me as Luis.

Married with two children, he has been employed at 575 WEA since the year 2000 and he delights in his work assisting tenants and their families, watching children grow up, and even posing for my camera shots. He praises the management of the building, an Italian Renaissance design by Gaetano Ajello, constructed in 1915 and  dramatic with its high storied entrance captured in the multiple-exhibitions photo.

COLUMNS | 18 comments | permalink
    1. Lois says:

      Wonderful photograph and lovely prose. Congratulations, Mildred.

    2. NPK says:

      A stunning photograph and a beautiful tale of the photo and the doorman in this terrible time of so much hatred and violence. A peaceful story for today. Much needed!

    3. StevenCinNYC says:

      Very nice story!

    4. Pete Salwen says:

      Great catch, Mildred! — and a rich, poignant image to share.

    5. kls says:

      super neat–photo and the doorman too!

      I hope the residents and their kids in your building–unlike in mine sorry to note– are taught to say pleetzero.netase and thank you to their hardworking and now “famous” Doorman! And that he and his family have a great trip to Rome!

    6. Cindy Cardinal says:

      AND he is a truly wonderful guy!!!

    7. lhm says:

      Beautiful picture!

    8. Louise says:

      Love this story. Thanks for sharing!

    9. Rich says:

      Everything about this is beautiful. Everything. Congrats.

    10. ZOILA PEREZ says:

      Its a picture filled with so many nuances and thus it captures the attention of many, with each individual perception. You and the, no longer, mystery doorman are bound for ever by the shutter of your camera. Kudos!

    11. Jessica Brockington says:

      That is lovely, Mildred.

    12. Joanna says:

      Absolutely lovely!! Such a fabulous image to support & champion your beloved doorman.

    13. Carol mills says:

      How wonderful great photography and a joy to have won

    14. Stephen says:

      Good for you all. As a professional Photographer Film Producer and ex Doorman I of course love this. Well Done. Love the story. Thanks

    15. What a beautiful picture! Love the story behind it…

    16. Endrin says:

      Wow, what a unique picture.

    17. Amanda says:

      Scrolling through and found this wonderful picture! So unique and simple.

    18. Carlton says:

      I know this doorman. He is a excellent.