Chance Reunion

Eric (l) and Matt (r) meet up after 35 years (photo: Shaun Paul Griffiths)

Eric (l) and Matt (r) meet up after 35 years (photo: Shaun Paul Griffiths)

by Eric Mencher

Years ago in the infancy of my photojournalism career, after I complained yet one more time about a dropped credit line under one of my artful, award-winning photos (or so I had naively thought), an editor once told me that only mothers and other journalists read credit lines and mastheads. I can’t vouch for the mother part, but I’ll bet my Leica that credit gazing is still a habit among journalists.

So I was sitting on my hotel balcony in San Marcos La Laguna, thumbing through the first few pages of the Revue Magazine, and even the three majestic volcanoes across Lake Atitlán couldn’t distract me from the editor’s name.

Could there be more than one journalist in the world named Matt Bokor? The same Matt Bokor who was the editor of The Oracle, the student newspaper at the University of South Florida in Tampa where I got my start as a photojournalist? The same Matt Bokor who had put up with my sort of sophomoric rants about the lack of respect in the world for photography? If it were the same dude, would he even want to hear from me after 35 years?

For once I actually appreciated the ease of finding old friends on Facebook, because two months later, there I stood with Matt (and my lovely wife Kass), sipping free drinks in La Antigua Guatemala at Ocelot’s first-anniversary party (journalists like free drinks almost as much we like looking at credits), talking about old times, old girlfriends and much, much more.

Even after 35 years, I felt an immediate connection with Matt, and didn’t even consider reviving my old mantra of “you ran my picture too small and you didn’t even publish my credit!”

After The Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times, Eric Mencher spent more than 20 years with The Philadelphia Inquirer before starting his own freelance photography business. Visit

One comment

  • Sandy

    Good for you two ~ what a small world! I, too, am a former Oracle staffer. I worked for the paper from ’88-92 starting on the classified desk, to on-campus advertising rep, and finally to ad manager. What a great few years and yes, the same arguments occurred in the news dept. while I was there also. Go Bulls!

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