Daniel Russo

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Daniel Russo Photographer

Calm like a bomb — Daniel Russo’s incredible photos reveal the mysterious power of the ocean.

Photographer Daniel Russo has swum in some of the world’s most powerful waves to capture surfing’s A-listers like Nathan Fletcher or Joel Tudor destroying Puerto Escondio, Pipeline, and Cloudbreak.
His explosive surf photography captures the awesome power and the mysterious beauty of the ocean.

If you’ve ever picked up a surfing magazine, it’s likely you’ve noticed Daniel Russo’s photography. His work spans an array of diverse brands and publications, citing Quiksilver and Vans campaigns, among them. Furthermore, Hawaii-born Russo is the only photographer to have the cover of Surfer, Surfing, and Transworld all in one month– perhaps a snap of Nathan Fletcher dropping into a bomb here, or Joel Tudor pulling deep into the tube there. But what often gets overlooked is the eye behind those shots; most don’t realise the strategy, physical strength, and vulnerability that comes along with being a surf photographer.

The man behind the lens has many stories of his near brushes with death and the physicality of surf photography behind his photography.The ocean is Daniel Russo’s first love. Raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Daniel first got his feet wet at a very early age. Growing up, his father taught him essential waterman skills, and he learned to always honor the ocean and to be wary of its unforeseeable path. This, in combination with self-taught photography skills, armed Daniel with the ability to share his experiences in the water with the world through motion and still photography. Inspired by the raw coastline of the Hawaiian islands and its world class waves, Daniel travels frequently capturing images in far-flung locations. He embeds himself in the unfolding extreme elements of the ocean and finds peace while reacting to the constant change. Daniel currently lives on the North Shore, which continues to provide him with happiness and inspiration. Always seeking new adventure, he hopes to always remain inspired by his surrounding environment, and in the process, capture more timeless moments.

“My passion for the ocean started at a young age, inspired by my father, Larry Russo, an avid bodysurfer. He not only won the Pipeline Bodysurf Contest multiple times but was also an exceptional swimmer. Pipeline, his favorite wave, became the classroom where he taught me about currents, positioning, and ocean respect. Growing up on the North Shore of Oahu, a place I still call home, I was fortunate to be immersed in this environment.

It wasn’t until I was 19 that my photography career began. Starting on 35mm film and my first camera, a Canon EOS 630 equipped with a 15mm lens, I self-taught the basics of photography. I developed a particular affinity for wide-angle lenses in heavy impact zones, which has allowed me to build a career over the last 22 years through capturing these unique perspectives.

The thrill of swimming in the impact zone is unparalleled. Photography opened a gateway to experiencing another dimension of life on Earth for me.


Masters Image: “One of my memorable captures took place in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, a prime location for early morning water photography.”


Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch
2024 exhibition music panel

Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch

Fri, May 3

1:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Kirra Beach House

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition
free event
2024 exhibition

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition

Tue, May 7

9:00 am — 4:00 pm

Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre