As 20th-century London can attest, subcultures tend to be the inventions of youth. More than their parents, teens and twentysomethings are ready to experiment and innovate and tear up old clothes. But the Swedish raggare movement is an exception. “It is something carried down through generations,” observes Linus Sundahl-Djerf. According to the photographer, the population that celebrates hot rods, Confederate memorabilia, and midcentury American pop has had a presence in Sweden for decades.
“Anyone growing up in a small town in Sweden has some kind of connection,” he explains. “Either you have friends who are part of it, or you have friends who hate it, or you’ve just seen them driving through town screaming while someone’s naked butt is sticking out the car window.” Like American greasers and Cyndi Lauper, the raggare just want to have fun.
And every year, they do just that at the Power Big Meet. Located on the outskirts of the town of Västerås, the event is said to be the largest gathering of classic cars in the world. On site, Swedes divide. A portion sticks to pristine lawns, parading immaculate cars and cultivated reputations. The rest move to Swine Camp, which The New York Times hazarded was named for the septic “standards of those who choose to stay there.”
To give us a peek into the beer-strewn grounds, Sundahl-Djerf shared his photos of the raggare who run the territory of the less polished playground at the Power Big Meet.