THE LAST ROAD TRIP: ALEXANDER WAGNER HEADS OUT WEST
Every year, New York-based photographer Alexander Wagner heads west for some much needed respite from the city. His contributions to our Last Road Trip series employ a different tone than Wagner’s typical, more editorial style of photography. His annual journey west, shot on 35mm film, captures the stories of travel, nature, and the sun. Wagner’s photos are fortuitous accidents, with over thirty rolls of film shot and edited down after the fact. His subjects range from friends to new acquaintances met along the way, and the journey he takes is different each time, often away from major roads and highways. He does not aim to capture specific shots per se, but rather moments and motions. To him, there is a powerful inspiration in landscapes, both of nature and the human form.
Bodies in landscapes, and landscapes in bodies, is an important notion to Wagner, seen in the flashes of nudes and hillscapes in his most recent collection. The scenes of the desert too are naked, void of people and buildings yet holding on to the light. The ambiguous location of these image collections serves as a story of what traveling feels like. A route is present, but not necessarily clear. In viewing them, there is a certain haze—some images are overexposed as edges appear burned, sometimes making clear only what is happening in frame. There is a rawness to Wagner’s photos that offer the spirit of westward travel. The light is ethereal and crisp, with cloudless skies that stretch across the scene. The use of negative spaces draws the viewer in, allowing them to fill in the blanks, as if they were along for the ride.