An Exclusive Series & Q&A with Photographer Dane Peterson

You’ve likely seen Dane Peterson‘s work before; he has photographed some of the world’s most notable surfers including Mick Fanning and Kassia Meador, as well as brand content for modern surf brands like Roxy and Reef. But we assure you – to typecast Dane’s work in the surf category is doing yourself a disfavor. While the surf stuff comes naturally to Dane, an Aussie transplant and avid surfer himself, some of his recent projects prove that he is equally talented behind the lens whether on land or at sea.

We’re sharing an exclusive look at one of Dane’s most recent projects; an emotion-evoking series documenting model and muse, Lanna Lyon, through the grieving process following a broken heart – or at least that’s where our imaginations ran. We all have a trusted process for coping with emotional stress; the ability to interpret the own catalyst behind Lanna’s emotion and relate to it, in part, is what we feel makes this series so special. Browse through some of the series’ snaps above, and read on for our exclusive Q&A with Dane below:

CULT: What do you love most about being behind the camera?

Dane: The thing I honestly think I love the most about being behind a camera is those split second moments when you know you’ve captured something beautiful and/or great. The moment when my body immediately sparks some new electric energy or joy internally and then it bursts out of my mouth and I generally end up squealing like a little girl.


CULT: Was there a pivotal moment or photograph that you remember that has evolved your personal style?

Dane: When I was younger there was one week where I was starting to shoot for Rhythm – there’s this one photo I took of my friend Harrison and I was incorporating composition, foreground, action, etc and it was just one of those “holy shit” moments. I just love to discover new things and new experiences, I love polaroids and film.


CULT: Your recent series featuring Lanna Lyon is more than just a day in her life – it’s a captivating story of solitude and emotional recovery. Can you share with us some of the inspiration behind this story and series?

Dane: Yeah I guess it really is, isn’t it? It all came to fruition in my mind one day sitting at Malibu Beach. I was actually sitting down with a group of friends and everyone there was dealing with some sort of emotional bullshit due to the relationship they were in, inbetween, or currently ending with their partner. There must of just been something in the air that month. But after listening to the ways in which my female friends were handling and or dealing with their emotions it spawned the idea for this shoot.


CULT: What convinced you to steer away from your usual surf photography to shoot a more comprehensive story, evident in this series?

Dane: I was bored, and I don’t think it’s conventional for me to shoot only surf photography. I was good at that because I enjoyed it for a long time, but I got bored of surf photography so I spent a lot more time playing with portraiture and different mediums that weren’t limited to just surf. I don’t like to be put in a box. I shoot a broad range of things and a lot of people don’t realize that, I’ve been doing women’s swim and fashion in the surf industry for about 8 years and no one has any idea.


CULT: What is the most important element to photography when aiming to convey a story? How do you capture emotion?

Dane: Composition and emotion are the most important – I try to compose things in a way that make people stop and think about what they’re actually doing, and really feeling the moment. It depends – firstly, I don’t like to shoot someone before I meet them or hang out with them, I like to spend time and get to know someone first, I find it’s important to relate to people, and find things you have in common – depending on the situation, it touches on personal stories or issues, I like to direct people and say things to get reactions to see how it affects people.


CULT: In the past 24 hours, what has inspired you?

Dane: Kayla Varley and her beautiful mind


CULT: Who/what are some of your favorite subjects that you’ve had the chance to photograph?

Dane: Jared Mell because he’s such a wild, spontaneous little ball of handsome Mexican energy.


CULT: Your ideal day includes…

Dane: Waking up next to the love of my life, seeing the light pierce through the window, it’s just hitting her face and makes her glow, I love her smile, it warms my soul…coffee, a quick swim in the ocean out in front of the house in Venice, working a little bit whether that’s editing or shooting, going for an afternoon surf in Malibu…and then sharing Vegan pizza and a Modelo with Kayla….and then ending my day in a ball of hot passionate sex.


Words to live by:

Be positive, present, listen, learn and grow.



Photographer: Dane Peterson

Model: Lanna Lyon

Stylist: Kira Sheppard

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