Photography book review: Tractor Boys, By Martin Bogren and Christian Caujolle


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The Independent Culture

Youngsters meet up on the village outskirts, racing their "tractorcars", burning tyremarks into the warm summer asphalt. The smell of rubber, oil and souped-up engines fills the air...

The vehicle of choice is known as an EPA tractor, a Swedish term for an old car converted for use as an agricultural machine. During the 1950s EPAs had almost died out as new tractors had become cheaper. The EPAs were almost forgotten until teenagers discovered that the EPA law offered them a way to drive, even as 15-year-olds – and so, during the 1960s and 1970s, they became increasingly popular in rural areas. Tough rules are in force to restrict the gearing on the cars and their speed is supposed to be limited to 30km per hour. However, the boys find creative ways to bypass these legal and physical restrictions. Their adventures are captured here by photographer Martin Bogren, who first came to attention in 1996 with his book on the Swedish band, The Cardigans. He has since published two photo books, Ocean and, most recently, Lowlands. A winner of the prestigious Scanpix Photography Award in Sweden, he has been exhibited around the world. Christian Caujolle is one of France's leading curators and critics, and his writings on photography have been published worldwide.