Jakob Wagner – “Light and weather are the main actors in my sceneries”

April, 2018
Reading Time
5.5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

Talking photography and gas-balloons with Jakob Wagner

This week Creative Chair is in Düsseldorf, Germany where we’re talking to Jakob Wagner, a renowned photographer who has been commissioned by a myriad of high-profile clients.

Specialising in aerial and landscape photography, he has been featured on Behance 23 times.

You can see a lot more from Jakob Wagner on his website.


From your experience, what are the challenges associated with aerial-landscape photography?

The most important aspect of my work is to match the right spot at the right time. Light and weather are the main actors in my sceneries. Sometimes I return many times to one spot, to get the shot with the right balance between weather and light.

Austrian Alps

Most of my aerial photographs are taken from normal passenger planes because I had the fortune to work as a photo assistant for a few renowned photographers while they were working all around the globe.


This job included a lot of time in aeroplanes. A very few are taken from a helicopter which is unfortunately very expensive. The best way to take aerial photographs under perfect requirements is a gas balloon flight. From a gas-balloon you are able to shot in all cardinal directions and you fly very slowly which gives me the opportunity to select my subjects deliberately, furthermore you have the possibility to fly several days at a stretch.

They could fly higher (up to 9.000 meters) and further than hot-air balloons, but were more dangerous as they were usually filled with hydrogen gas.


To fly with a gas-balloon is always a challenge, because only the weather and the wind decides when and where the journey goes, additionally gas-balloons need a hydrogen pipeline to start, so there are just a few spots around the world, were you can start you trip and you will never know were exactly it ends. So, every gas-balloon flight is a real adventure and challenge for me.

Above the Ruhr

What has been your favourite place/subject to photograph?

One of my favourite places is Cape Town in South Africa, because of his many various landscapes in the same area. There are wild cliff coasts, beautiful beaches, high mountains, green shadowy woods, dry steppe, and white and yellow sand deserts.

“These landscape diversities are unique in the world and continually fascinates me”


Everything lies in the same area, within a seven-hour drive. These landscape diversities are unique in the world and continually fascinates me. No other place impressed me that much.


Through my work as a photo assistant, sometimes I got the chance to visit places that are refused to outsiders. In May 2010 I had the fortune to see one of the ocean giants up close. We travelled from Rotterdam to Felixstowe as guests of one of the biggest container ships in the world, the Emma Mearsk. A really impressive journey!

Container #15

Container #22

What is the one place you would really like to photograph that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet?

There are so many places I would love to visit and photograph. Iceland, Australia, Spitsbergen, Norway, Nepal, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil and Madagascar are just a few of my wish list.


If you had never discovered photography, what do you think you would be doing?

I think I would be still a graffiti artist and graphic designer or maybe a professional skater and snowboarder.

Aerialscapes 3

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song what would that song be?

At the moment it would be “Patria” (feat. Sissi Rada) by David August, but this is changing every few weeks.

Patria (2016)
Patria feat. Sissi Rada
Play on Apple Music
Play on Spotify
Play on YouTube
What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Jakob Wagner
Our Forest