Artist Interview: Daniel Mansson

Daniel Mansson is a surf/skate/lifestyle photographer based in Stockholm. His documentary style photography always exudes a strong presence and sincerity, whether he is shooting lifestyle, fashion or portraits. His pictures breathe energy, and with his ability to use natural light, they convey a very specific mood. Daniel shares with us how his passions have culminated into his latest work, Cold Water Surfing.

Can you talk a little about where you grew up and when you got into surfing?

I grew up in Stockholm, Sweden far away from good surfing but close to skating. I started skating when I was 8 and since then I have bean around it and it´s been a big part of my life. Surfing came in to my life 14 years ago when I was 19 and did my first surf trip to Bali. The surfing lifestyle with the ocean waves and traveling really appealed to me. Since then I’ve been traveling the world shooting skate and surf.

What is the surf scene like in Sweden? Anything unique about it that most people don’t know?

First you have to be so dedicated to surf here in Sweden, Its freaking cold and the waves are crap, but you still love it because it’s at home.

People that surf here are often self-employed driven persons, a lot of them work with media and try to involve surf in their life as much they can.

Normally when its low-pressure coming in with rain and storm surfers get low, but here its the opposite. Storms mean onshore waves and that`s what`s we surf here.

How would you say the breaks of your homeland compare to other places you’ve visited? Is there anything you miss about these spots when away from home?

The best thing at home is that you are the local and you meet all your friends. The places we surf here are so beautiful. To surf in cold water it´s a whole other experience than warm water.

How did you get into photography? What drew you to life as a photographer?

Without skating and surfing I don´t think I would have made it to become a professional photographer. My driving force was to capture my passion for surf and skate. Without that, photography wasn’t interesting enough for me.

Can you talk about your latest book, “Cold Water Surfing”? When did you come up with the idea? And where did you travel?

Cold Water Surfing was a project I started working on in 2005, and it’s about my home-break Torö. I have spent a lot of time there and when I started thinking about making a book about surfing in Sweden it ended up being about Torö.

Which aspects of surfing and surf culture do you try and capture through your photographs?

For me surfing is more than just the most radical turn, It´s the water, the light ,the waves, faces, dedicated persons. For me what kind of board you are on or what kind of wave you surf is not the most important. For me it is the creative part of being in the water and trying to make something new and interesting.

What are some other projects you have worked on?

My first book Faces of skateboarding was a 180 pages book of my meeting with the 50 legends in the history of skateboarding. That book opened up many doors for me. The second book I did was with the surfboard-company Super. I followed Clay Marzo, Ry Craike and Kolohe Andino and made this little travel story with them.

Where do you hope to take your talents in the future?

Well I would love to work more with international surf companies and do their branding with my style of photography. So if Oneill, Quik, Rip curl, Patagonia or some other surf brand reads this, call me up, I can fly out from Stockholm tomorrow.

For more of Daniel’s work, check out his website at

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