Tractor Boys by Martin Bogren

For his book Tractor Boys, Martin Bogren returned to the rural village of his childhood and youth (Skane province). A place he had despised and escaped from many years earlier “because there was nothing really happening“.  Back in town, he has approached “a kind of kids” that had been there also when he was a teenager himself but to whom he did not belong at the time: Boys and girls who are “sweet sixteen” and who withdrow themselves from society not in themselves but in a gang with its bizarre rituals and barriers that make it impenetrable  for outsiders.

It seems that there was a whole lot of things happening after all! Mr. Bogren made an intimate portrayal of a gang of youths, who present themselves in full (inter)action with the photographer!

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© Martin Bogren

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© Martin Bogren

Central element in the gang is the love of its members for tuned cars (tractors), which these “kids” seem to cherish as much as they loathe the world which is awaiting them. Martin shows how the “tractor boys“, more bravely than conformistic teenagers, expose themselves to the dangers of both high speed and of first love. We see hand in hand the codes of machoism, showing off and tenderness intertwining in a very complex language only understood by themselves and by the photographer.

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© Martin Bogren

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© Martin Bogren

Maybe the photographer, deeply aware of his never used talent for the language of the “tractor boys”, finally returned to  his fellow villagers because he regretted his initial rejection of them? It confirms the old Korean poverb that you may try as many escape routes as you want, finally you find yourself on the road of your destiny and it seems with his book, that this is something convincingly settled now!

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© Martin Bogren

An eye-opener for other photographers is a beautiful interview with Martin on the website of Lens Culture. He talks about how he became a photographer (“because there was this energy, all these things experiencing in my self“) and about how he continues (“it’s not about showing to others but about developing yourself“). And when he talks about “those days when nothing happens and you are not making any good pictures“, he interestingy states: “you need them, to dig in your subject and in your self.”

 

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© Martin Bogren