first photo expedition

This summer I went on an trip to Båstnäs, close to Töckfors in Sweden, where there’s a huge car cemetary i the middle of the woods. The place is a really good location for photograpers, it’s surreal beeing there in the woods wondering how on earth somone got the idea of having all these cars piled up in the middle of nowhere – cause that’s what this place is! Then I was wondering how someone managed to actually get all these cars out here, and of course the obvious: shouldn’t this area have been cleaned up to avoid pollution of the environment? I’m glad it wasn’t, cause this special place has it’s own, calm and relaxing atmosphere – and tons of photo-opportunities. I took off to the right, just a couple of kilometres after I crossed the border between Norway and Sweden at Ørje, and drove what must have been about 25 km straight into the woods, mainly on dirt roads. The setting is just as from a movie, or like a step 50 years back in time just by crossing the border….

 

As I got there, the first thing I noticed were some people walking round among wrecked cars in the open field between the buildings on this old farm (or at least I think that’s what it must have been way back). Obviously when I’m in such a unique place by myself I strike up a conversation, at least just to share the first impression of this one-of-a-kind place. It turned out to be an american couple with anscestors in Sweden, who were back to meet them and their families and have a trip round Norway/Sweden. Their son in law (I think he was) was born a couple kilometres from the place and had just found the wreck of his grandfathers VW piled up in front of the main house. Back in the 50’s/60’s when You bought a brand new car in Sweden, the owners name was engraved into a metal plate in the glove compartment, and he showed me this on his grandfathers car.

 

After my visit I found out that this place was started by the Ivansson brothers, Rune Ivansson beeing 14 years of age and Tore 18. This was in the 1950’s when jobs were few in Sweden, and as there were a constant lack of car parts in Norway at the time their business was good. The brothers bought old cars and sold parts to hordes of Norwegians that came across the border for car parts due to restrictions on sale of cars and parts in Norway. At the peak there were about 1500 cars in this place, but now there’s aboutt 600-700.

 

As the first impression wore off and I’d been shooting for some time, I started noticing what always seems to happen where people gathers: thrash and destruction! And I’m not talking about the cars, but empty beer cans and bottles. Broken glass. Chocolate paper, empty bags of chips and cigarette boxes. In many of the cars, by the buildings and in other parts of the wood. Obviously people do not respect the unwritten rule applying to this kind of places: "Take only pictures, leave only footsteps". By doing this others can have the same experience, before the whole place really turns into a junkyard. The persistent lack of respect  became obvious to me when I read the sign at the main door on the first building, it’s written by Rune’s son and reads: «After about 30 burglerys this year I’m fed up with it!» «I’ve made traps in the buildings so if You’ll get hurt or die I don’t care.» «Remember in this place no one can hear you scream.»


Images from the trip will be published shortly in my next album "04: DEAD CARS IN BÅSTNÄS"


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