Behind the Lens: with Tomasz Wagner

by Alicia Taggio

Tomasz Wagner also known as Mananetwork, began photographing in 2004 while he travelled. Based out of Vancouver, Tomasz owns and operates his own business specializing in wedding, commercial and travel photography. We met him at a travel tweetup in Van and not only loved his business cards, but immediately fell in love with his work.

We sat down with him to pick his brain and find out what inspires him and what places around the world he loved capturing the most:

1. How long have you been a photographer for and what motivated you to first pick up a camera?

I’ve been a photographer since 2004 but I say it didn’t truly start until 2009 for me. After graduating high school I went to CDIS to become a visual effects artist.  I had to do a lot of my projects with still imagery so I purchased a point and shoot which was a lot of fun to use. As a matter of fact, two thirds of my graduating demo reel was complied of just still images. When I landed a job, I rewarded myself with a new digital SLR.

2. Who are some of YOUR favourite photographers and why?

I have a few, but my two most favourite photographers are Jonas Peterson and Jonathan Canlas; both with a totally different perspective and medium. Jonas with his amazing candid and style of editing, and Jonathan Canlas who only shoots vertical and on film.

3. When did you decide to start your company Mananetwork and what lessons did you learn along the way?

Mananetwork was established back in 2001 to promote my visual effects portfolio.  It then grew into my photography company when I started documenting my travels through photography in 2007. The word is actually pronounced “mana-network” not what many people read it as “man-at-work”.

As I photographed with others in a team over the years, I soon learned the only way I could set myself apart was to create my own style. As I juggled two jobs over the years, it never felt photography was ever work. When you’ve got a passion, you do it because it feels right. It’s about pushing boundaries and making it fun.

Just last year I restricted and changed Mananetwork to Tomasz Wagner | Mananetwork. I felt that I was slowly building my own style and wanted my name to reflect that.

tomaszWhat camera model are you currently using?

I don’t like announcing what type of gear I use but I can tell you what kind of gear I travel with. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about that.

When travelling I need all the angles covered so I don’t miss that moment. The three I always carry are wide angle, telephoto and something with a fast aperture for night photography. This is what I look like when traveling. Supplies in the back, camera in the front.

4. What is your favourite thing to shoot and why?

I enjoy candid shots of people and places because of the moment associated with that type of photography. As though the viewer has to think about the photograph a bit longer to figure out what you’re photographing. A kind of indirect way of presenting the subject you’re photographing without making it obvious it’s the main focus.

5. You’ve captured some amazing things around the world. Which place was the most memorable?

I’ll never forget India, that place is a whole other world. Like a diamond in the rough, it doesn’t shine when you first see it but with some exploration and time, you’ll be glad to put the effort in! India offers rich history, beautiful colours, a slow placed lifestyle and warm hospitality. A memorable and unique place not found anywhere else.
Floating Palace of Taj

6. Which place surprised you the most?

A lot of research goes into planning a trip but it’s the places I stumbled upon along the way that have been the biggest surprise, such as; the Golden Temple in Punjab for it’s amazing attention to detail and cleanliness; Lotus Temple in Delhi for such a remarkable structure; and Lake Kawaguchi for being a beautiful snowy city, it’s also a great place to view Mount Fuji.

Kawaguchi Lake / Day 23

7. What things can’t you live without on the road?

Very simple: a camera, iPod, good pair of hiking shoes and journal.

8. Where are you off to next?

I’m actually in the process of planning a two-month trip after I shoot my last wedding in Mexico. I can’t say where yet, but I’ll keep everyone informed and up to date about where Tom is at! (follow Tom in Twitter!)

9. What is the #1 tip you would offer a budding photographer who is about to hit the road?

Pack light, leave the extra shoes at home, forget about the underwear and don’t worry about the extra pants! But never forget to pack the camera!

To check out more of Tom’s travels, be sure to check out his Travel Blog! We drooled for hours over it.

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