Brooklyn-based photographer Andre D. Wagner looks at his work as a way of understanding people and the world better. Every time the documentary style street photographer goes out, he asks, “What does the world have to show me today?” In this video, we’re introduced to Wagner’s world and get the inside scoop on how he approaches people on the streets, sees moments that everyone else doesn’t seem to notice, and how he loves the process of creating images through film:
Wagner loves that he can have a voice and speak through his images. He shoots film because it challenges him—you have to know what you’re shooting; know your distance from the subject when you’re walking down the street so you know if you can hit your focus, know the light.
When he’s out on the street with his Leica 35mm film rangefinder, he doesn’t pretend to be invisible; he gets right into the thick of things. He talks to people, smiles, makes friends.
Wagner looks at his approach as a collaboration with the people on the streets. He says people can feel your energy when you’re out working and that’s why he always tries to exude something good, be positive. He tries to be involved and engaged in the situations he’s in, what he’s looking at and interacting with.
“My approach isn’t sneaky, people feel that energy and tend to respond negatively. What seems to work best is being confident and happy with what you’re doing.”
Sometimes, he doesn’t see his work for a couple months and he feels like when he finally does see it, he gets to relive all the amazing moments that everyone else around him missed at the time.
And he gets an incredible sense of accomplishment that can’t be equaled from behind a computer. Every time he prints an image in his darkroom, he sees it come to life; it’s such a rewarding feeling to have made it with his own hands.
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