Robbin Michael Wagner

Robbin Michael Wagner

Cinematographer, director and editor in West Hills, California

About Robbin

Robbin Michael Wagner is one of the top fine art photographers in the Southeastern United States.  He is the first and only photographer to be on permanent display in the Penthouse of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New Orleans, LA.  He wrote, along with life partner Brooke L. Denman “The Contemptuous Ruby” an erotic noir short,“Zaharr The Reader, a romantic comedy” and “Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned”, a dark and twisted psycho thriller feature.

Mr. Wagner was born in Flint, Michigan in 1954 in the heart of General Motors. He spent his youth dancing in the Flint Ballet Theatre and acting in The Flint Community Players. He also acted in summer stock theatre productions sponsored by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. His first camera, an Agfa pop down bellows 620, was purchased at a flea market around the age of 9 for 25 cents. Mr. Wagner developed his roll film in old aluminum ice cube trays in the crawl space under the stairs in the house he grew up in. He made contact prints only with outdated Velox paper given to him by the local newspaper photography department. 

In 1973, at the age of 18, Mr. Wagner left Flint and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and did aerial photography as well as taught basic photography courses for a local camera shop in Deerfield Beach. He did portraits of senior citizens along South Beach. Mr. Wagner moved to San Francisco in 1975 and immediately began his photographic career shooting modeling portfolios for the Grimme Modeling Agency. He opened his first studio at 2215 Filbert Street in the Marina District. 

Wagner left San Francisco in the late 70's and moved to New York City and became the fashion and beauty photographer for Wolfarhts Studio. Mr. Wagner photographed table top setups for the studio's only two clients, Sears and J.C. Penney. During this time he began as a test photographer for many of the modeling agencies in New York. 

In 1980, Mr. Wagner, newly married, put away his camera and endeavored to prosper in the corporate world and moved back to Ft. Lauderdale. He spent the next nine years away from the camera and became deeply involved in family and the business world. In 1989, the sudden death of his son was a turning point in his life and in his photographic career. 

Divorced in 1992, Mr. Wagner, a single parent with two surviving daughters, left Florida and moved back to San Francisco and began in ernest to rekindle his passion. He opened up a small studio in Pacific Heights and began shooting fine art nudes. After two years in San Francisco, Mr. Wagner moved one hour north to the small community of Bodega Bay. (Alfred Hitchcock's Birds, 1963). 

Mr. Wagner had an opportunity to relocate his studio to New Orleans in 1997. On September 11, 2001, the Word Trade Center tragedy forced many galleries in the French Quarter to close. He stayed and began his career in digital cinema and also became a logistics consultant on Runaway Jury, 2002. It was on that set that he and Brooke Denman, his life partner wrote “Zaharr The Reader”. It was also on that set that Brooke gave birth to their daughter Zoë. On a casual invite from 20th Century Fox, they moved to Hollywood and Mr. Wagner infiltrated the studios and quickly became convinced that digital cinema was the end for old school silver gelatin based film.   They moved back to New Orleans, began pre-production on “Zaharr The Reader” and were completely wiped out by Hurricane Katrina five days out from the starting shoot date on August 19, 2005. They moved back to Hollywood and watched in horror as the economy slipped into the massive meltdown you see today. They moved back to the French Quarter in the early part of 2011. The digital foray into feature film streaming convinced them that digital production in the independent arena will revive the movie industry. They are currently writing several screenplays . On August 25, 2010 on the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Wagner and Ms. Denman wrapped their production of the “The Contemptuous Ruby”, a dark erotic noir short in two days during the 48 hour film fest merely to demonstrate the capability of small digital cameras. The budget was less than $3000. It is now available to view on IMDB. 
“The Contemptuous Ruby” is slated to start production in February 2012. The short version was an official selection of the 2011 New Orleans Film Festival.

Name: Robbin Michael Wagner

Lives in: West Hills, California

Occupation: Cinematographer, Director, Editor and Screenwriter

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  • Since: December 2011
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