About Jeff Wagner


"I have to find that place," I thought to myself, absorbed in a two-page photograph in a National Geographic magazine. That was the beginning, sprawled out on the floor, staring ay glossy pages. I picked up my first camera at nine years old and dreamt of making images like the ones in those magazines. Since then, I've learned the hard truth that photography is not the art of using a camera; photography is the art of seeing through another set of eyes and bending what you see into your own vision.

When I started, selling calendar photos of famous national parks sounded great. I soon abandoned that pursuit for subjects that were more elusive, colorful, and interesting. I still take photos of mountains, but I don't strive to recreate any art I have seen before. Dancers are my favorite subjects because they display a wide range of emotion. A new interest of mine is street photography: catching glimpses of strangers' lives out in the world. I keep making photographs because it's a way to communicate my vision to others. I take a camera wherever my diverse passions in life lead me, and I invite you step inside and explore the people and places I capture through a lens.

I am a minimalist. My photographic style demands it. For most of my work, I use as small a camera as I can manage, and choose prime lenses over bulky zooms. In fact, most images in my portfolio were captured with the the smallest and lightest lens around: a Nikon 50mm. Currently, I own just that 50mm and a wide angle 20mm lens. I use Apple's Aperture for my minimal amount of processing work.

Aside from my photography, I am an outdoor educator, a mountaineer, a dancer, a cook, and a cyclist. I sing and play mandolin, guitar, piano, and marimba. I am a staunch environmentalist; some might call me a Luddite, though I programmed this website from scratch. I try to keep my human impact on the world big and my environmental impact small. Right now, I'm working on a resource for the young environmentalists who I cross paths with. Depending on the time of year, you might find me teaching ecology at Mission: Wolf in southern Colorado, designing websites for experiential education companies, leading gap year programs for Where There Be Dragons, leading backcountry expeditions for NOLS, or singing and dancing with Nii Armah Sowah in Boulder, Colorado.