Coconut Wireless Logo Newsletter Issue #5
July 2007
Waveriders Gallery Logo
Waveriders Gallery Paintings Photography On Exhibit Vintage Posters Boards Books Blog About/Contact

The surf art genre is growing faster than the pack at Lowers on a fresh south swell, so we've opened "On Exhibit," a new section on the website devoted entirely to select pieces from artists and photographers new to Waveriders. Take a look when you get a chance-we think you'll be as stoked as we are. The centerpiece of this issue is an interview with the foremost Swedish surf photographer (and possibly the only Swedish surf photographer) in the world, Thor Jonsson. Enjoy!

Keep on keepin' on,peace
The Angry Cossacks at Waveriders Gallery

P.S. Please direct any comments, criticisms, or props to If by chance you like what you see, please refer us to a friend.
P.P.S. “Jambo” = “Heya” in Swahili.

Inside the Studio
thor head shotMost surf photographers come from California, Hawaii, or Australia, and started on the path at a young age, which makes Thor Jonsson's story all the more incredible. Try a Parisian-born former carpenter and divemaster who hails from Stockholm, Sweden, and shoots primarily in black and white. Thor's atypical pedigree as a surf photographer makes him an excellent subject for this month's In the Studio.

How does someone based in Sweden, not known for its surfing, become a surf photographer?

"Well, I had been traveling and windsurfing a lot for a couple of years, and I was slowly becoming a documentary photographer. But while studying for a three-year BA in Photography, in England, I seriously began to question my path with documentary, and I ended up going on a trip to Canary Islands to try water photography. I had never been swimming with a camera before, and I was quite new to wave surfing as well, but I slowly learned on the lava reefs, and once I processed my films I was stuck. I found a style and angle with my photography almost immediately, and I really enjoyed the whole journey from the capturing of moments in the ocean, through the editing and printing. It all felt very rewarding, and I liked the results. From then onwards I've never thought another day about what to do with my life, I've just been working hard to be able to continue doing water photography, since being freelance, and based in Sweden, mean expensive trips and forking out before collecting."

What was the appeal of shooting surfing to you?

Thor Image 2"I'm not sure if I ever had any preconceptions, or even a clear reason for shooting surf, other than that you must try before you know. I had been intrigued by the ocean ever since I was a child, but it took a long time before I really made it part of my life. For me it is about freedom, nature, and extraordinary experience. And from a completely egocentric perspective I really enjoy looking at an image thinking. I, (or if someone else is in it), we were there...for a split second we were there.. And then there is of course the sheer joy of communicating something you believe in."

Almost all your images are in black and white. Why shoot in B&W;?

"First of all, my work is often very graphic, that makes it a natural deliberate choice for me to shoot in B&W.; The eye reads a color image differently from a B&W;, often in a color image it is the actual color that 'makes' the image. My work is more focused on composition and form, and from an aesthetic point of view I then find working in B&W; more rewarding. We also have some kind of visual heritage from B&W; images that connotes a documentary feel, and I like that. And in some senses the images become more timeless. I've also kept my photography 'old-school,' still working with 35mm negative, hand-printing all my originals in the darkroom, and then B&W; is wonderful to work with."

A central theme in your work is motion. Tell us about it.

Thor Image 2"It's funny that I'm completely hooked on the still image, when I see a surf movie I always want to press the pause button.... In the ocean everything is in constant motion, Myself, the wave, the surfer, the light. The very act of surfing is never static, it is all about movement, even so, we (or at least I) can never remember a whole wave/ride, I just remember fragments, instants frozen in time. Here, I believe, lies one of the still photographic image's real strengths, for it enables me to capture some kind of essence, the kind of essence that gets deeply embedded in our minds at the time of experience, the essence I see in a surf movie when I want to press the pause button. And even though the fragments we remember are almost static, we can still recall the motion of it all, and this is why I like to merge and try to convey the two: the static essence and the actual motion. Wow, that might sound really pretentious.sorry...hopefully it made some kind of sense anyway."

Nope, not pretentious. Do you ever shoot surfing in Sweden?

"I still have that to do actually. The thing is that since we don't see too much surf around here, in the good season only once or twice a week. I just want to surf, not work, when there are waves. When I'm on a working trip I always work first and surf afterwards, but at home in the cold I don't have the same moral. But this autumn I'm planning to go for a swim or two, it would be nice to produce a set of images from here. Sure, it's wind chop, but we still get some quality surf once in a while, and the light is often beautiful."

What are your future plans?

"Wow, right now I need to get a large exhibition ready for an opening next week in the south of Sweden, and I've got to find a publisher for my book 'Oceans,' and get that out on the market. Otherwise, just generate enough money to produce another photographic project, hopefully some time in October or November, and keep my gallery running. At the moment I feel like I want to live life without too much stress, and enjoy summer in Sweden. I've been working like crazy since I came back from my last trip to Indo. On the other hand, I usually don't make to much plans, 'cause they never work out the way I envisoned them anyway, so I try too keep away from that and be open about the future instead. But lots of things are happening, and I really just want to keep on doing what I'm doing, maybe on a slightly larger scale, and to work towards growing both as a photographer and as a surfer."

View more paintings on Thor´s page at Waveriders Gallery

Off the lip

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man-who has no gills.”

--Ambrose Bierce, Wit, Dead Man

hand printHave an idea for an article? Need to tell us about something we missed or what we can do to improve? Email all questions, comments, critiques, etc. to If you’d like to subscribe a friend, go here.

Sipping Jetstreams

Special Offer on Select Images
For a short time only we're offering these choice prints at a discount. Supplies as limited as an empty peak at Sebastian Inlet on Spring Break.

upcoming exhibits Waveriders photographer Dalton Portella will participating in the "Sink or Swim" exhibit at Sylvester and Co. running from July 7th through August 1st. The address is 154 Amagansett, New York 11930 (Ph: 631 267-9777). Check it out.

Boards, Boards, Boards
We've expanded our "functional art" (read: boards) section with classic wooden shapes from world-famous shapers such as Robert August, Dale Velzy, Hap Jacobs, Hobie Alter, and many, many more. These foils not only look fantastic hanging on your wall, but offer great in-the-water performance with stronger and lighter construction than was found in the original boards these reproductions are based on. Scope the quiver here.

tyler title
Tyler Cuddy

Raised in La Jolla, California, Tyler Cuddy's inclination toward change has manifested itself throughout his photographic career. His pull toward the kinetic carried him to such disparate destinations as the infamous surf of Hawaii and the snowy enigmatic backdrop of the Alaskan landscape. The breadth of Tyler's photography displays a penchant for capturing the mercurial, both in the water as well as out. His aesthetic versatility is evident in his ability to capture the tempestuous nature of the surf to the gritty, modish party scenes of urban life.
tyler cuddy wave

Tyler Cuddy

July sees the launch of a brand spanking new section on Waveriders called "The Green Room on Exhibit." Every month we get brilliant submissions from painters and photographers around the world, from painters and photographers both established and unknown. Carefully picking through these submissions we select a handful of choice photos and paintings to put "on exhibit." In this small way we can introduce you to new artists (or at least new to you). It is our pleasure to present these unique pieces for your enjoyment and purchase. Check it.
tyler cuddy wave
Surfriders Foundation

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