Portfolio: Max Wanger


Tulum, about 120km from Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula at the far eastern tip of Mexico, plays host to some of the country's most extraordinary ruins, a wonderfully preserved pre-Columbian Mayan walled city that sits atop 12m-tall cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

It is also, thanks in no small part to its tropical climate, a tourist magnet – which gave LA native Max Wanger the perfect subject for an impromptu shot he still treasures. "My wife and I were there on vacation, exploring the ruins, and there's a point where you're elevated and able to look out over the ocean; it was an amazing view that just called for a photograph." And not just any shot, but one using the tilt-shift lens that Wanger always takes with him when travelling.

"It's a fun lens to use – it lets you control the appearance of perspective. Here I blurred the tops and edges of the frame and focused on the people in the water, creating a miniature-like effect."

The swimmers are thus transformed into tiny stop-motion figurines, which fits with an artistic concept that particularly pleases Wanger. "Minimalism is a design aesthetic that I find beautiful whether it's in a book store or a beautiful garden. I've spent a lot of time in Tokyo – I'm half-Japanese – and I'm inspired by Japan and its architecture. The way minimalism is used there has played a role in the way I see the world – I've always collected little art figures and I like things to be simple like this."

For more: maxwanger.com