Photography & Cinematography

Benji Wagner: Using Photography to Engage with the Great Outdoors

A lifelong outdoorsman, Benji Wagner grew up mostly in Maryland and at quite a young age began avidly skateboarding, snowboarding and shooting photographs on film. He worked as a freelance photographer and filmmaker before starting an innovative outdoor equipment business a couple years ago. “I went to college off and on for years but never graduated,” says Wagner. “I am an autodidact. I didn’t enjoy school very much, and I prefer to pursue the subjects that interest me in my own way.” Benji Wagner is the co-founder and creative director of Poler Outdoor Stuff. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and three children. Here is the story of how he combines his passion for photography and the outdoors to create compelling motivational images for his new company.

Q: How would you describe your photography?

A: I’ve always been interested in storytelling, people and the outdoors. I would like to create images that are out of time and out of place.

Q: You shoot with a Leica M6, correct? What characteristics of this camera do you find suitable for your work?

A: I believe some objects are more than the sum of their parts and that their limitations become their strengths. An M6 is one of those things and it isn’t really quantifiable. It’s a great example of how less can be more and a pleasure to use.

Q: Which lenses do you normally use on your M6?

A: The 35 mm f/2 and 50 mm f/2 Summicrons are the only lenses I have. I’d like to acquire a 21 mm at some point I think.

Q: Photography is not your day job, is that correct? Would you consider yourself a professional photographer or a serious enthusiast?

A: I was a professional freelance photographer and filmmaker before I started my company, Poler Outdoor Stuff. I no longer …read more

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