Monday, June 11, 2007
Doug Menuez - Journalist's Eye
Photographer Doug Menuez's years of photojournalism experience lend a fresh realism to his commercial and fine-art work
For example, Champion sportswear in Italy asked Menuez for a proposal. They wanted shots featuring athletes that looked real and pure, so Menuez proposed casting a group of college athletes in different sport arenas, such as rowing, track and field, and football. The athletes would train together for a week with a real coach, so they'd be physically challenged while getting to know and trust each other. On the last day, there would be a competition.
Champion green-lighted the proposal, and Menuez, with the athletes in tow, headed to Hawaii for a weeklong shoot. They trained and pushed themselves to the nth degree every day, recalls Menuez. “I used long lenses and shot it like a sporting event—the results were totally real,” he says. “As opposed to a more typical ad shoot where the athlete says, ‘I'm not running or working out right now, so spray me with a mist bottle,' you can't say that wasn't real.”
Like an athlete gearing up for a big game, Menuez is never one to stand still. There are always projects in the works, such as his current collaboration with Mexican art director Andrés Zamudio on Blue Agave: Journey to the Heart of Tequila, a coffee-table book documenting Mexican culture and tradition, as well as the people who cultivate the potent potion in Mexico's agave-growing region.
With his digital darkroom, Menuez also uses special paper to print his own portfolios and books in-house and fastens them at a professional book bindery. His self-published fine-art magazine, Urge, premiered last March, and he's already diving into the next installation. The first issue of Urge—called “Tesao,” which means “treasure” in Portuguese (his wife, Tereza, was born in Brazil)—is really a sensual love story. The pages are filled with Menuez's tender, fine-art nudes of Tereza, complemented by his own eloquent, poignant prose about the beginnings of their relationship.
These projects fuel his fire, rather than deplete it. “The more a photographer does personal work, the better he gets, which makes him more useful to his clients,” says Menuez. “It's easy to get on a plateau and stay there, but I have an intense fear and paranoia of that, so I have to constantly push and challenge myself with different projects. I want to do something great in my life.”
Doug Menuez already has.
To see more of Doug Menuez's photography, visit his website at www.menuez.com.
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