Doug Menuez Captures Hope and Joy in The Wild Place

“To survive human beings must somehow find a common connection; that is the fuel for the stories I tell about our lives.”

Doug Menuez

By Missy Hunter

Doug Menuez is an inquisitive cultural anthropologist of the highest order. With a documentary photographer’s eye, he collects data by observation, interaction, and of course, the click of his Leica in hand. From circling the globe being an onlooker to societies and cultures far and wide, to witnessing the subcultures of NYC, Doug feels most at home, chronicling our shared humanity amid all of our differences. His latest study of human beings and their triumphs is titled Wild Place, photographed in Kingston, NY, Doug’s adopted hometown.

“I like what’s happening in Kingston right now. I like the intersection of culture.”

Chris Turgeon, Executive Chef at Wilde Beest.

Wild Place or Wiltwyck, in Dutch, is the original name of Kingston. It’s a fitting title to this project as Doug intends to highlight the varied creative thinkers residing in this Hudson Valley city, in the thick of a transformation.

“I love the atmosphere here, the old houses, the history, the Hudson River is amazing, being close to the mountains, and nature. I feel like I’m in my element.”

Deborah Mills Thackery, Photographic Artist

Doug’s journey to Kingston is a meandering path with memorable time spent in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Woodstock, and Manhattan. Doug recognizes that through the years, the cities in which he lived and enjoyed most provided fuel for his artistry. From the more populated places, Doug drew a sense of energy and competition, while the smaller ones offered room to take in the surroundings and study humanity at his own pace.

“I’d like to change the social dynamic that exists in the high school in Kingston. I hope my work can make people see the Arts kids are really interesting if you just talk to them.”

Dominique, AKA Nicki Tha Great, musician

After a false start in Kingston many years prior, Doug and his wife returned to relish a city full of artists and entrepreneurs undergoing a metamorphosis. Here was his chance to study the fabric of the town, as Doug puts it, “across all cultures, socio-economic levels, education levels, political beliefs. How does a community grow and thrive with a multiplicity of competing interests?” Welcome to The Wild Place.

I do the work that I do because I believe that we are each the social architects of our society.

Micah Blumenthal, Artist, Community Activist, Greenhouse Director, Good Work Institute

Doug has photographed, filmed and interviewed several residents and business owners with more visual storytelling planned for the future. Visit Wild Place to see the entire collection.

“I get joy from our community here in Kingston. Our customers on the train. Being able to make a slight difference in the world around me.”

Robert Gaston

Follow Doug on Instagram to see imagery of those everyday moments that fuel empathy, connect cultures, and remind us of our shared humanity.

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