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PHOTO ESSAY: Sweden's Unexpected Obsession With American Cars

Driving '66 Mustang Coupe under the midnight sun, photographer Gregor Schmatz tours auto culture in Scandinavia.

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U.K.-based photographer Gregor Schmatz spent two summers in Sweden capturing the country’s obsession with the American car. Driving around in a 1966 Mustang Coupe – sometimes under the midnight sun – he explored a subculture in which a surprisingly large chunk of the 9.7-million-strong population owns, tinkers with and exhibits vintage automobiles. If you’re in Boston this month, you can view Schmatz’s series Amerikanare in a pop-up gallery housed in a shipping container on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The showcase, which runs until May 31, is part of the 2015 Flash Forward Festival, the Magenta Foundation’s annual competition for emerging photographers.

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This photo: What started in the late 1950s with rebellious teenagers greasing their hair back and listening to Elvis in hard-to-come-by American cars has grown into a full-fledged subculture of raggare, Swedes – women and men, young and old – who own (or aspire to own) a vintage car. “It has little to do with social class,” says Schmatz. “Everyone gets together at ‘cruise meets’ in different parts of the country to have fun.”

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PHOTOGRAPHY     SWEDEN    

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