In his new photobook ‘Green’, the New York-based photographer turns his camera on the expressive youth and mossy parklands of Stockholm’s industrial waterfront

Many of us would consider it a pretty long way from Malaysia to Sweden, but for the peripatetic photographer Danny Lim, inspiration shrinks distances. Born and raised on the Malacca Strait, Lim found early success with a modelling career that whirled him around Asia, Europe, and eventually dropped him in the shimmering mirage of New York City.

As New York emerged from its pandemic slumber in the latter months of 2021, Lim went wandering. His next destination: Stockholm. Staying with his partner near the former industrial area of Hammarby sjöstad—hardly a Valhalla of picturesque scenery, as anyone who’s graced its windswept waterfront would readily admit—Lim took several trips around the area, whereupon he stumbled onto a few chance phenomena. One: ominous-looking moss and fungi sprouting up from dead tree stumps and detritus-laden soil. Another: a series of adolescents from a local high school loitering on their lunch breaks, cigarettes perched between thin fingers, leather jackets emblazoned with anarchist badges and tributes to an arcane ’80s punk band called Sötlimpa.

Lim, inspired by the character of his surrounds, aimed his ever-ready camera and fired; the result is Green, Lim’s first self-published photobook. Played out beneath the bare trees and tonic skies that characterize Sweden for six months of the year, Lim’s photos contrast the spontaneous regeneration of organic matter with the performative self-expression of youth. Some kids sport liberty spikes, some listen mournfully to music using headphones with wires (an important detail), others lay on the mascara and eyeliner to an almost operatic degree. (These are students from a nearby institution for “aesthetic education” called Kulturama, known for a certain too-cool-for-school attitude resplendent among its pupils—but you probably could have guessed that.)

Lim’s background in graphic design furnishes him with an aptitude for image-matching and visual organization. He has a photographer’s sense for composition and a model’s sense for how body language tells a story. Green brings all of these capabilities together to capture the visual flavor of an area which, having once housed a General Motors factory and, until recently, Sweden’s oldest fishmonger, is now the purview of heterotrophs and adolescent aesthetes alike. Far away from the heady tropics of the Malay Peninsula, Lim’s wandering eye isn’t afraid to slow down and take a closer look.