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Capturing Elegance and New York Charm: Doug Menuez' Shoot with Josephine Linden for Harper's Bazaar Australia

Documentary photographer Doug Menuez spent the first half of his multi-decade career shooting for Magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Life and Fortune, with more recent shoots for publications like Vanity Fair and Parade. The thrill of capturing authentic moments and telling human stories continues to propel him in his work. Recently, he had the opportunity to shoot Josephine Linden, a wealth manager, entrepreneur and philanthropist for Harper's Bazaar Australia. This shot was iconically New York, shot in Josephine's townhome on the Upper East Side.

Having grown up in New York, Doug was excited to capture the essence of Josephine, a pioneering legend in finance, who with her husband, has built the classic New York life, full of beauty and culture.

What is the background of this project?

For this shoot, I was referred by a photographer friend who is a freelancer for National Geographic. Once I got the assignment, I connected with Josephine to get to know her and her interests to figure out how we wanted to shoot. I learned that she had a townhouse on the Upper East Side and once I saw it I knew it would be the perfect place to shoot. It is tastefully decorated with iconic art and gorgeous light. We shot portraits there and then headed to Central Park with Josephine and her husband. It was a really great experience, collaborating with her and her letting me into her life.

You have worked for numerous magazines in the past, what is special about editorial work?

I love editorial work because it challenges me to be versatile and adapt to different environments and subject matters. It’s not just about taking pretty pictures, but about capturing authentic moments and telling a story through the images. I really enjoy the process of getting to know the subject and seeing a bit of their life. Editorial work also keeps me on my toes and constantly learning about different topics, you know one day I might be shooting in a remote village in Africa covering famine and the next day I could be in Paris shooting fashion. It’s a really unique way to explore the diversity of the human experience.

Do you have a favorite shot from this shoot? 

My roots are in editorial and street photography and this tapped into both of those aspects. I love capturing the unexpected moments that happen when you’re just out and about with someone. One of my favorite shots was of her going down the stairs, which wasn’t planned. I saw her walking down and the perspective was really cool so I spontaneously took that one. I also like the candid shots outside which showcase her personality and character. I’m always on the lookout for those special moments, even when we’re in the middle of a planned out portrait session. The little surprises can make a shoot truly incredible.

Do you have a memorable moment from working with Josephine?

Something that stands out to me is the art in her house. She has incredible pieces. One of those is an original photograph of Winston Churchill by Yousef Karsh. Karsh was a photographer in the 40s, 50s and 60s and was famous for taking portraits of notable individuals. In this particular image, Karsh snatched Churchill’s cigar out of his hands just before taking the photo, intentionally provoking him and capturing his scowl. It’s considered one of the most iconic images of him ever taken and Josephine had an original copy of it. 

I think the most memorable moment hasn’t happened yet. She invited me to a dinner party at her house as a thank-you for the shoot. It will be a glittering crowd of interesting people who are at the cutting edge of arts, science, and technology. Very classic New York. I feel very lucky and it’s one of those parts of this job where you never know where it might take you.