Maja Daniels: Elf Dalia

Maja Daniels. Image from Elf Dalia (MACK, 2019). Courtesy the artist and MACK.

Swedish Photographer Maja Daniels speaks about her project ‘Elf Dalia’, released in the form of a book by MACK in 2019.

Embedded in the historical enigma of a place and its people, ‘Elf Dalia’ weaves together a narrative born out of the Swedish valley of Älvdalen. Daniels combines photographs taken from 2011-2017 with photographs from a local archive made by a man called Tenn Lars Persson (1878-1938); a local inventor, mechanic and photographer. The two artists come together across centuries to create a coherent narrative that engages with the many mysteries of Älvdalen, particularly the preservation of the ancient language Elfdalian. Through this intermingling of past and present, ‘Elf Dalia’ draws attention to the possible fictions of historic events and documentary photography.


Maja Daniels is a Swedish photographer currently based in London and Gothenburg. Her work is influenced by her university studies in sociology, photography and film and has been exhibited in Paris, London, New York and Bilbao. Her projects have so far dealt with questions regarding the social and cultural effects of an increasingly institutionalized contemporary social climate and how our societies changing attitude towards older generations is reflected in the media. She collaborates with cultural institutions and social scientists on academic projects, using photography as a tool within wider cultural research.
Whilst being a documentary-driven practitioner, Daniels has also developed a multi-layered academic and artistic practice that includes sociological methodology, sound, moving image and archive materials, aiming to further explore each medium’s narrative and performative functions.
She made her first short film in 2015 and a second one was released in early 2019. Her first book “Elf Dalia” will be published with MACK books in spring 2019.