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NJUT LAGOM! The secret art of being swedish

GUNTA PODINA


NJUT LAGOM! The secret art of being swedish

GUNTA PODINA


Visitors to Sweden intent on enjoying all that this country has to offer are very likely to innocently overlook the cultural phenomenon that is widely known to all Swedes as “Lagom”; an almost esoteric unspoken code of conduct only really fully understood by those that have been born and bred within its influence. Whilst all Swedes certainly strive to improve both themselves, their family and their community the paradox is that “Lagom” somehow unconsciously prevents people from becoming too different from their neighbour. Lagom defines Sweden in a way that is rarely duplicated outside the country. Near neighbours in other Nordic countries look to Sweden and see this difference in the culture. Sweden is somehow “different”, even the standard dictionary definition of “Lagom” does not quite do this “difference” justice. Lagom - “enough”, “sufficient”, “adequate”, “reasonable” or “just right”. All of these descriptions are synonymous with a sense of fairness, a concept easily found in many other countries worldwide. “Fairness” is seen in health care systems, political systems, and taxation systems worldwide. So what makes Sweden unique? Perhaps it is best defined for Sweden as, “Lagom är bast”–“everything in moderation”, a uniquely social application and, importantly, social acceptance of fairness. The series of photographs within this volume reveal a wide cross section of Swedish cultural activities that have been shaped by this elusive concept of “Lagom”, a way of life that Swedes like to defend. A quick glance at the scenes depicted will show an equality of spirit, a shared joy, a shared moment of early sunshine after a long dark winter, a collective enjoyment of an outdoor event or a shared moment in a swimming pool. But on closer examination a sense of separation is revealed.

Students of “body language” cannot fail to notice how the majority of subjects are enjoying “themselves”, but no necessarily together as “ourselves”. A sense of separation is portrayed in all scenes and activities. Equlity shows itself in the swimming costumes worn in the local pool – all black. Is this an unconscious conformity with “Lagom”, perhaps? Do they ask themselves: “We are not too different are we?” Perhaps they also ask themselves, “I’m not enjoying myself too much am I?” The reader is invited to view this series of photographs as a coherent whole. Take time to compare these human activities, captured over Sweden’s four distinct seasons, with similar events and functions in your own culture. Gunta Podina’s body of photographic work has been obtained through patience observation. An observation that has allowed her to get very close to her subjects without affecting their beha- viour. Close examination of the images in this volume reveals human emotions such as “relief”, (the sun has returned: sunbathing on the ski slope or the ladies exercising in the pool!),“fellowship”, (a chat around the pool!), the “loneliness” of a game of “lucky dip”, (girl employed behind a prize tent), “tolerance” (on the train) and plain old “hope”, (a group of sports fans hoping the best for their team). Discover a Sweden “just enough” where behaviour means blending in appropriately without extreme displays of emotion. Typical of the Swede is to be very calm, planned and rarely impulsive. “Njut Lagom!”

Michael Culligan


Plane spotting. Skavsta Airport


Barbecue area. Ryssbergens hill


Romme Ski Resort. Borlange


Making angels. Nykรถping


Rosvalla Event Center


Previous pages: Hjortensbergsbadet

Bubble pool. Hjortensbergsbadet


Library. Nykรถping


Second Hand shop. Nykรถping


Aqua Gym. Hjortensbergsbadet


Coffee shop. Ryssbergens hill


Cake party. Nykรถping


Nykรถpings streets


Ă„ngstugans allotments


Camping. Strandstuviken


Dog walking. Nykรถping


Ă„ngstugans allotments


Playground at campsite. Strandstuviken


Coffee break. Ă„ngstugans allotments


Friends visit. Ă„ngstugans allotments


Open-air cafe. Stockholm


Bus station. Nykรถping


Previous pages: “Melodifestival”. Nyköping

Walpurgis Night. Nyköping


Old car cruise. Nykรถping


Graduates riding around town on flatbed trucks. Nykรถping


Graduation day. Nykรถping


Ă„ngstugans allotment


Birthday party. Ă„ngstugans allotments


Campsite. Strandstuviken


Camping. Strandstuviken


Campsite. Strandstuviken


Game of boules. Strandstuviken


Game of “lucky dip”. Ängstugans cafe


Strandstuvikens beach


Barbecue party. Nykรถping


Flea market. Oxelรถsund


Car Bingo. Oxelรถsund


Antique car show. Nykรถping


Antique car show. Nykรถping


Line Dance. Nykรถping


Midsummer´s festival. Ängstugans cafe


Old car cruising. Nykรถping


Flea market. Oxelรถsund


Mexican themed party. Strandstuvikens campsite


Duke Karl’s Market. The Nyköping Castle


Performance. F책f채ngan


Big Power meet. V채ster책s


Big Power meet. V채ster책s


Big power meet. V채ster책s


Folk Music Festival. Stockholm


Midsummer´s eve. Strandstuvikens campsite


Midsummer´s eve. Strandstuvikens campsite


Midsummer´s eve. Strandstuvikens campsite


Midsummer´s eve. Strandstuvikens campsite


Midsummer´s eve. Strandstuvikens campsite


Strandstuvikens campsite


Tivoli. Nykรถpings festival


Metro. Stockholm


Shopping center. Stockholm


Flea market. Nykรถping


Football fans. Stockholm


Parking place. Nykรถping


Bird watchers. Marsviken


Bird watchers. Marsviken


Plane spotting. Skavsta Airport



Njut Lagom!