Every girl knows what she wants her dream wedding to look like – from the type of flower in the bouquet to perfect location to the colour scheme of the bridesmaid’s dresses. For Max Wanger, his job is to attend weddings. He’s not a wedding planner nor a priest, but a Californian-based photographer with an eye for beauty.
I first discovered Wanger through the lifestyle blog, A Cup of Jo, and was immediately taken by his colourful photography style. His subjects always look so content, bathed in hazy golden sunshine, in poses that look natural and relaxed. He manages to capture intimacy between couples and families in a way that is charming, rather than cheesy. Bright colours and dappled sunlight evoke the perfect wedding atmosphere. His use of unusual angles and alternative locations make each image a visual delight, entirely different from your usual staid wedding shots.
This is not to say Wanger’s work is limited to solely wedding photography. Travel is one of his passions in life; he often takes to the skies and captures shots of far off places with his wife, Margaux. His blog is a treasure trove of snapshots, of natural beauty, vibrant street scenes and often, beautifully elegant women. His love of vintage photography is evident in his Polaroid experiments; perhaps it is this element of a nostalgic past that conjures up that warm feeling you get when flicking through Wanger’s work.
Owl Eyes were lucky enough to get the chance to interview Max Wanger on love, life and his art…
What made you decide you wanted to take up photography? Did you pursue another career before or was it always what you wanted to do?
I've been taking pictures since I was seven years old. It's just something I've always loved to do, but I didn't pursue it full-time until about four years ago. Before that, I was a senior producer at a major television network in America. I got to the point where I knew I wasn't doing what I wanted to do, so I left and haven't looked back since.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by many things: New York, Paris, Tokyo. Rodney Smith, Tim Walker and Paolo Pellegrin. Little kids who are way cooler than me. Originality, simplicity and negative space.
How to you continue to think up new, creative ideas in your work?
Thinking of new ideas is always a challenge, but travelling always wakes me up, inspires me and forces me to think of interesting and creative things to do.
What do you believe makes a beautiful photograph?
Composition, light and whimsy.
It seems you’ve been to a lot of weddings! From your experience, what makes the perfect wedding?
Every wedding is perfect in it's own way. It's what makes shooting them so wonderful.
What was the most unusual wedding you have attended?
We photographed a wedding at a zoo once and the bride and groom got to take part in a giraffe feeding. It was actually very cool.
You are quite the traveller. If you could choose one place to revisit in the world, where would it be and why?
I love Tokyo. It's crazy, beautiful, overwhelming and peaceful, all at once.
Apart from photography, what are your other passions in life?
I don't play as much anymore, but I love golf, and of course, my wife, Margaux.
What advice would you give someone looking to pursue a career in photography?
Trust your instincts. Follow your heart. Shoot, shoot, shoot, it's the only way to truly learn.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
On a farm with my growing family.
How do you take your tea?
With two spoonfuls of honey.