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Photography Credit: Ike Edeani
During the pandemic, street life has taken on a whole new tone, due to everything from lockdowns to mask mandates to protests. But street photographer Andre Wagner sees the same foundations that have always been there, in what he refers to on his Squarespace website as, “exploring the poetic and lyrical nuances of daily life.”
Andre’s silver gelatin prints focus on themes traditional to American street photography—including race, class, and community—and have even led him to collaborations with major films. Squarespace spoke with Andre about his photography career so far and his advice for photographers looking to grow their own careers.
SQSP: What first sparked your interest in street photography?
Andre: When I moved to New York in 2011, it completely turned my world upside down. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and I had just finished my undergrad degree in Iowa. So moving to the city was a huge change for this Midwestern boy. The street life and how people spend their time outside instantly mesmerized me. My photography hobby quickly turned into an obsession.
SQSP: How has your online presence helped you turn that interest into a career?
Andre: I didn’t think about it much at first, but over the years I’ve realized being able to share my passion has helped me sustain it. To get feedback and gain a following from people who want to engage with my work is inspiring, and it has helped me to keep going in times of doubt.
SQSP: What have you learned from creating street photography as daily life has changed dramatically over the past couple of years?
Andre: Even though daily life has changed, I’ve learned that my foundation is still the same. I want to tell stories that are important to me, I want to use my work as a voice for people who might not have one, and I’ll continue to be curious and open to what is happening in our world.
SQSP: What have been some of your biggest challenges in creating and sharing your art during this time, and what have you done to overcome those challenges?
Andre: Some of the challenge has been trying to figure out what to focus on or what I should be giving my time to. It’s okay to not have all the answers, to slow down and listen, and it’s okay to sometimes feel stuck. This is all part of the process, nothing lasts forever, and your breakthrough might be around the corner. My friends and patience have helped me get through.
SQSP: What advice do you have for emerging photographers who are trying to find their voice and grow their career?
Andre: Focus on the work, and make genuine connections with the people you work with. Focus on the work is self-explanatory: You need to beat on your craft as much as possible. Making genuine connections isn't about what someone can do for you. It’s about building relationships, listening, and sharing experiences that you can build on. Don’t treat meeting people like transactions—it’s not healthy for longevity or humanity.
SQSP: How do you see your art and career evolving over the next year?
Andre: I have a few long-term projects that are wrapping up, so that’s exciting. I’m also working on some new projects outside of New York City, so it’s great to be working and expanding how and where I work, entering new situations, and solving new challenges—all in the name of growth.