Local Talk: 10 Questions with Montclair photographer Andrew Wander

Your book, Stately Homes of Montclair’ represents a significant amount of exploration throughout Montclair and its homes - how and why did you initiate this project?

I decided on "Stately Homes of Montclair" because as I settled in this town back in 2007, I viewed history in it's architectural brilliance, it's European design and realized that this project had never been attempted.

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Why Montclair as your geographic focus?

Montclair is noted to most as a culinary mecca.  Now, it's more than just a place to grab a bite.


How did you start your career in  photography?


I don't have a career in photography.  It is a part time vocation. I videotaped weddings and events from 1983 until 2007. My main vocation is providing legal video services to lawyers. Depositions, courtroom playbacks and site inspections are my thing.


How do you feel about how photography has evolved over the years with the introduction of social media and the ubiquitous nature of cameras?

Photography has come along way (see my website: www.andywander.com).  As digital has taken over, it's another world for better or worse it is here to stay.


How did your project mindset change from when you kicked off the project to its completion?

The project changed a great deal from the on-set.  I started collecting photos throughout town. Then I decided on 3 essential chapters; Exteriors, Interiors and added: Backyards, Courtyards, and Rose gardens.


What was the biggest surprise in this process?


I found a Rose garden based on an English Rose garden.  When I went to cover it, the owner answered the front with shovel in hand.


Was there one particular home that meant more to you than the others?

Sure...that is a difficult question.  Come to my April 29th lecture at Van Vleck and I will present the top 3.


No one really needs a home save the scale of most of these structures and we’re seeing a movement as of late towards micro-living with just the essentials. Do you think theses types of structures endure?

Yes they do endure...The rich will always have a place in our society.  The mass and spaciousness provide an environment for any artist for reflection and creativity. Try living in a residence shown in my book. Oh, you would need about $16,000. per month but, the experience
would be priceless.


Tell us something about Montclair that only you or a few people know.

There is a home here that belonged to an arms dealer.  He was
ready to move in to his "stately home" but, the war ended and he never did.


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What’s your favorite coffee or tea beverage?

My favorite tea is earl grey.  Typhoo is worth every penny.