photography by Martin Bogren | video by Lens Culture
Martin Bogren never felt a sense of belonging while growing up in a little town in Skåne (Scania County in English, like the trucks), deep Southern Sweden. It was a boring, dull town where nothing interesting happened and where kids would occupy themselves with things he wasn’t really into. He just wanted to get out of town for good, which eventually happened when he moved to Malmö at 18. But the discomfort lingers on and is yet felt by the photographer every time he returns to his hometown. He is just of place.
Nonetheless, there’s something about the town that keeps Bogren magnetised to it. Indeed, zooming in closer to his 50s (he’s 47 years-old), he now finds himself visiting hometown once in a while, utterly enticed by those uninteresting, distressful activities that once he disdained, and ultimately made him go away. One of those activities was the own heralded by a hidden society called Tractor Boys.
Tractor Boys is a collectivity of teenage boys that race EPA tractors in search of adrenaline. These old cars, converted for farming use and very popular in Sweden until the 1970s, give these boys the chance to experience some driving thrills (there’s a law in Sweden that permits 15-year-olds to drive tractors) and to engage in tractors’ customisation for faster speed reaches – 19 miles per hour (30km/h) is the known record.
Martin Bogren always stepped away from the races while a youngster, but as a grown man he embraced the secretive society as distinctive cultural presence of his hometown. Hence, he documented the group’s inner-organic in a photographic booked released in August last year called Tractor Boys. Through his prominent gritty-grained, dense and shaky photographs, Bogren exposes the racers and races (and girls) that preserve alive this outdoors, rebel activity that still resonates as story about his youth.
Bogren told Lens Culture all about his Tractor Boys photographic compilation and lend an eye to his life and perspectives while growing up in Skåne County.
directed by One9 | produced by One9, Erik Parker and Anthony Saleh
Nas: Time is Illmatic is more than the eye could expect for a documentary spotlighting a record album. It doesn’t hold on exclusively to a musical spectrum nor its accomplishments nor its post-effects on the genre and its musicians. It puts Nas’ game changing 1994 hip-hop album on a broader context: as an introspective and lyrical photograph of the experiences of a young, segregated African-American.
The different working fields of the screenwriter, music journalist Erik Parker, and the director, multimedia artist One9, meet at both ends to create such an enriched outcome. For one, there’s a journalistic, a storytelling approach delving into Nas’ musical roots on his family – especially his trumpeter father, Olu Dara, who grew up in Natchez, a deeply racist South turf of Mississipi – to the early rise of Queensbridge projects and the whites’ exodus to New York’s suburbs.
By dissecting the album’s songs one-by-one, the tip of the string unfurls through Nas’ first twenty-one years of life: growing up with the family in the projects; the on-going violence; the death and incarceration of close friends; the drug-ridden streets; and the failure of the American system to come forward with positive and effective means of integration of black people, especially the younger generations. Portraying this scenario is where One9’s fingerprints better sprout: besides taking the audience on a tour through Queensbridge’s streets, the personal accounts are supported by old footage and photographs (like Lisa Leone’s iconic stills) captured at the time.
Time is Illmatic expands the record’s reach far beyond the simplistic and lazy labelling of “hip-hop-defining album”. While focusing on Nas’ unique skills to put his state-of-mind and experiences into rhymes, the film Illmatic’s hidden layers on capturing and representing the social disillusions and battles of generations of African-Americans. It’s a timeless document of an incredible artist and the wider (and yet very present) resonation of his 20 year-old masterpiece.
Go to HUCK for an interview with the director and screenwriter by Alex King.
If any group can lay claim to being free of corporate conformity, of being nothing more or less than a group of like minded individuals dedicated to fun and freedom and self expression, it is bodyboarders.
— Rory Parker in Beach Grit
It’s fairly rare to read surfer publications taking a positive stance on bodyboarding and its riders. For several years we’ve been dubbed “fucking spongers” and “dick draggers” by our own cousins of cause and those who dare saying the opposite are just on the wrong side of the fence. That’s, in fact, the perspective of several (fortunately not all) wave riding zealots around the globe.
However, this bigoted point-of-view seems to be changing. In the last couple of months, I’ve found at least five articles on highly visited surfing websites praising bodyboarding’s influence in today’s surfing status quo. A couple of these were actually posted in the last twenty-four hours.
It seems surfers humbly assumed that boogers opened many of the doors they never dared to unlock. Let’s keep in mind that bodyboarders were the ones first taming spots like Shipsterns Bluff, Cave, Nazaré, Cyclops and The Right. Mind-blowing, thick-as-fuck slabs and mutants now deeply explored by the surfing community.
Boogers simply never sought out to make waves out of these discoveries and grubs. Or maybe no one just cared to hear them. Nevertheless, that keeps bodyboarding spontaneously anew and awing. They [we] get to ride the waves for themselves, expecting nothing more than cheer joy and fun. Obviously no one would snub a bodyboarding industry similar to the surfing one, but I don’t see anyone concerned if that doesn’t happen. And that’s okay. It’s bodyboarding for bodyboarding as it could be surfing for surfing. It doesn’t matter how you ride it; it’s the thrill of the ride that counts.
Autumn has been greeting Ericeira with hectic waves – which means I’ve been surfing loads. These past couple of weeks, the swell remained consistent (obviously with ups and downs) and spots that only work a few handy days of the year are dumping hauntingly beautiful kegs. I’ve been lucky enough to embrace three-hour long journeys of boogieboard and, on occasions, to simply gaze some of the most hauntingly beautiful waves I’ve ever seen. The latter is lingering the most on my mind.
I’m not going to lay down all the details of what’s been going on. Let’s just say I’ve attended good sessions; okay sessions; and others where I actually went way, WAY out of my own limits. And then there were the days in which I opted to stay put and flow with the Ocean’s pacing time. That’s what happened in the previous couple of days as I breakfasted next to a friend in a semi-deserted, dusty field pointing straight to one of the most mind-bending waves in Portugal’s coastline: The Cave.
The surfing world has heard a whole lot about The Cave last week, basically because Kelly Slater went surfing it. But that’s another story. This Western Portuguese slab, discovered by boogers several years ago, is a thick, shallow right that bends on top of a sharp, rocky shelve and batters below sea-level. One of two things can happen if you are caught by its chunky lip: either you are incredibly lucky and nothing more than a heavy whirl goes on; or you go straight to the rocks and get seriously injured. That happened to guys like John John Florence in 2012 and that’s the reason only a handful of Portuguese surfers risk to drop it. On the other hand, bodyboarders split the peak most of its pumping days. Not me though. I can only mind surf it.
The view of Cave’s grotto from the cliff is indescribable. The waves roll over like on a replay motion; bubbles arise from submerged rocks and draw mutant steps on the wave’s wall; and the sound…the sound is deep, dense. It’s all dazzlingly scary, a mesmerising scenario. For every single wave, I’m always awed. And the better of all: it’s right next my home! So me and a mate came up with a new routine for our whole gang to sip up the most out of this precious piece of Atlantic: dawning with coffee and cookies while peeking this raw, natural composition.
I like to be awed, every single day. I’m surely not the only one. At least my boogie buddies dig it too, that’s why we rise with the Sun and squander miles around Ericeira looking for bowls every week. If we can’t find them goodies, then nothing is lost. The nature takes care of things and we all get to renovate our spirits. As for myself, scoring a deep barrel or beaming a monstrous, empty slab has the same effect: both stick around my memory through times.
photography by Yoshi Omori | book: Mouvement 1984-92
Yoshi Omori is no longer interested in hip-hop. Between the years 1986 and 1989, the Japanese photographer spent his years capturing the birth and rise of France’s hip-hop scene, blending with the crowds in nightclubs like Le Globo and Le Bataclan. It was a golden age for the genre in Paris, with all its rappers, breakdancers, graffiters. But as years went by, Omori stepped aside from the scene. He says it just got to politicised and violent and that’s something unappealing to his guts.
Two decades later, the photographer teamed up with journalist Marc Boudet and artist Jayone to compile Mouvement 1984-92, aphotobook evoking the years of expansion in French hip-hop through its parties, artists and crowds.
Yoshi Omori spoke with Julien Morel for VICE about those groovy years in the Parisin 19th arrondissement and the release of the 150-photographs collection, now reedited by LO/A Edition.
Thomas Robinson is pure and simply today’s most fluid and stylish bodyboarder out there. This is an inspiration at times when the swell is stormy giant and unrideable in Ericeira and when work piles on with the end of the year in sight.