The story of the photographs in this book begins in 2010, when I stumbled upon a blog written by one of Richard Avedon's former assistants. I immediately wanted to experiment with the same camera the great Avedon used: a vintage Rolleiflex. (Watching Fred Astaire sport no less than three Rolleiflexes while playing Avedon in the movie Funny Face further sparked my desire to get one for myself.)
Shooting with a Rolleiflex is different from shooting with a 35mm camera. You cradle the camera in both hands, bending your head forward to look down at the image. When the moment is right, you trip the shutter. This can make you look downright comical to bystanders.
When I'm out shooting, people respond to the camera itself. Many recall their own fathers taking family photos with similar cameras, and feel nostalgic for an age of non-digital photography. The Rolleiflex itself has helped me meet and form bonds with many of the people pictured in this book. Without the kindness of these former strangers, many of my photos would not have been possible.
Of course, it's never just about the camera - or whether an image is captured on film, recorded digitally, or combines both technologies. It is always about the image in the photographer's head and how the photographer makes his inner vision visible to others. Few Are Chosen refers to the challenge of selecting the photos for this book.
My Rolleiflex is an extension of myself. This beautifully designed camera lets me get the images out of my head - and onto film. Although I enjoy shooting with many other fine cameras, I can't believe I had to wait 40 years before finding the camera that was meant for me.
After getting a Kodak Instamatic camera as a gift on his eighth birthday, photographer Dan Wagner has never looked back.
At the age of fifteen, he took first and second place in a New York City photography contest for high school students. After studying photography in college, he assisted top photographers in New York and Los Angeles for several years before opening his own studio.
Dan's editorial photography has been featured in leading magazines and newspapers. Over the years, he has shot major advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 clients. He has also taught photography classes at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology.
He lives with his family in Huntington, New York.