Have you heard of Max Wanger? He’s a photographer based Los Angeles whom I first heard about through Bri over at Design Love Fest and was reminded of him again last week, so I visited his online portfolio. A few minutes into the rabbit hole, I was swept away by his fashion photography and knew I had to feature a few favorite shots because they inspired me so much but even more, that I had to contact him for a little interview. These photos just feel like summer to me but even more, they’re so fresh and invigorating and I just love the color palettes that I can pull from these for projects – like a party or redecorating project. With summer in its final hours, I couldn’t think of a better time to share Max with all of you. Would you like to sit in on our little conversation?
Hi Max! So excited to have you and your work on decor8 today! So tell us, I know you live in LA but where do you work and what is your background?
Max: I mostly work in LA but accept jobs worldwide. I was born and raised by reformed hippies. Educated in Los Angeles, Honolulu and the here and there of Tokyo. I’m a lover of lazy Sundays, mismatched socks, negative space, NYC, soba, green tea, and last but almost certainly first, my wife Margaux & our little boy, Dash.
What landed you in photography?
Max: I’ve loved photography since I was 7 years old. That’s when my interest started and it’s grown from a hobby, to freelance, to now, full-time. After college, I actually spent almost 8 years working in a completely different field, in a very corporate environment. It wasn’t for me and my unhappiness reached it’s peak those last couple of years. Ultimately, the drive to do something I love landed me in the position I’m in today. I’ve been shooting professionally now for about 6 years.
Is photography your day job or do you do something else on the side? If so, what?
Max: Well, my wife and I both work from home and taking care of our 5 month old baby has quickly become our new full-time job. Aside from that, yes, photography is my day job. Although I also have a print shop on the side where I sell some of my work and that’s been taking up quite a bit of my time lately.
What do you shoot with mostly? Do you shoot tethered, wireless, or?
Max: Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm 1.4 & 50mm 1.2. For studio work, both, depending on the type of shoot.
What are you favorite types of jobs?
Max: I love shooting travel stories and look books — I love anything that involves working/collaborating with friends.
What are 5 things that you enjoy about being a photographer?
Max: The people, the travel, the discovery, the independence, the adventure.
Who is your DREAM client/job?
Max: I have to say, shooting for Conde Nast Traveler was a dream job come true. I always wondered how you got to be that photographer who got to travel to amazing places and take photographs. It was surreal when they commissioned me to shoot a story for them. As for a client that I’d love to shoot for in the future? Nike.
Do you also art direct/style your shoots? If so, tell us how you plan things out. If not, tell us some of your favorite stylists with whom you’ve worked.
Max: For personal work, I’ll sketch out and storyboard ideas. Most times I’ll art direct, but sometimes I’ll bring a crew on board and work with them to bring an idea to life. For commercial and editorial work, I’ve had the honor of working with so many talented stylists. But I particularly love collaborating with Jen Gotch. She’s an amazing stylist and creative mind.
Who are some of the best clients you’ve worked for?
Max: Vans, Banana Republic, Martha Stewart, Conde Nast Traveler.
What is the wildest shoot you’ve ever had to do?
Max: I’m not sure I would classify it as wild, but shooting for Vans in Berlin was definitely one of the most exciting shoots. Among the many highlights: Getting to photograph Mos Def who was a part of the trip. There was also that time I fell into a pool while shooting a wedding, but that’s a different, not-so-awesome, kind of wild.
Are you available for hire and if so, how can my readers get in touch with you? Where can they buy some of your prints?
Max: Yes! They can e-mail hello [at] maxwanger [dot] com or visit my website or my online shop. Thank you, Holly!
Readers: Do you have any questions for Max? Please ask him in the comments section below!
Thank you for joining us Max!
(images: max wanger)