Heather Elder Represents
Reps Journal

Doug Menuez Demonstrates That Smiles Aren't the Only Way to Demonstrate Emotion

With the addition of safety protocols, longer timelines, and more pre-production, companies recognize that productions have changed with COVID and they needed to choose a team that they knew could produce meaningful content within the restrictions. With this in mind, Eden Health sought out Doug Menuez for his humanist approach to photography, commissioning imagery for their concierge health service and visuals for their branding and website.

This project was a very large production with isolated and carefully selected cohort families. It included a 15 person crew, a safety office, 7-8 clients on-site, and live streaming to creative and production teams. Doug and his team seized this monumental opportunity, creating an environment where they could thrive — and get the job done. To say that this was a challenging shoot would be an understatement. Shot during COVID, Doug reported he needed to make some shifts in how he approached his work. He made it through with a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Here is what Doug shared.

What did you learn on this project? 

Having been a lifelong keen observer, a documentary photographer, and a photojournalist, I am accustomed to reading people, mainly through their faces. COVID presented a different way to observe. People express their emotions differently. I had to watch for their body language and their eyes. I needed to look for other cues.

I’ve learned to be flexible in my career, having shot medical procedures, in refugee camps, and even in a nuclear safety suit, but this project was tricky. Teamwork made all the difference, especially with this magnitude of difficulty. All of the moving pieces of the production and how they go together were that much more important. I was reminded and learned just how important it was to work as a team. No one should die on an advertising set. Lynda Goldstein was the person to make it work.

What was your most memorable moment on this one? 

Three moments stood out. It was exciting when we showed the work via live stream. The client was happy, so we knew we would make it work, given the COVID protocols. Additionally, I was flattered when the company asked me to talk to employees about my observations of the silicon valley start-up world and Steve Jobs. Perhaps the most jarring “moment” was when we learned someone on-set had exposure to COVID. We had an hour-long heart attack, waiting for the results, on the first day of the shoot. All turned out well.

What do you hope people learn about you and your work after viewing this?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether a project is healthcare, fashion, or cars, if I photograph orphans in Uganda or the Amazon, my goal is always the same if it’s commercial, editorial, or personal. I want to connect viewers with the human experience, the things we all share and have in common. I am endlessly fascinated by how people connect, relate, and live their lives.

Follow Doug on Instagram for more visuals showing us what we all have in common.