Bert Persson.

From Horseshoes to Caterpillars

6 june – 27 september 2015


The Swedish Armed Forces adopted the military tracked vehicle in the early 1960s. They commissioned Volvo BM to produce tracked vehicle 202 for transporting troops and 203 as a radio vehicle. Both models were finished in 1963 and became the principal vehicles of the Norrland Brigades. As a result the units could advance at a higher speed and with more supplies.

The caterpillars could efficiently run on snow. In parallel to the development of military vehicles, the forest industry also started replacing their horses with tracked vehicles. The Swedish Armed Forces learned from the technical advances in forestry and actively studied its attempts. The articulated steering of the cars is a result of the experiments made by the Swedish forest industry. It implies the more significant advantage that the vehicle maneuvered by holding the front and rear parts at an angle while simultaneously using the full drive on all tracks. This development, together with the low ground pressure, creates good accessibility.

More information can be found in the Folder (available only in Swedish).


About the artist

Bert Persson was born in 1928 in Skellefteå. After military service in Boden, he took up photography as a freelance professional at 20. In the early 1950’s Persson took over Harnesk’s photography studio in Boden. A few years later, he sold the extensive collection of negatives left by Harnesk to the municipality of Boden. In 1953 Bert Persson shot a photo reportage about a Sami family’s living conditions – the Päiviö family in Karesuando – which gained much attention. The reactions from the majority of society were so strong – they considered the Sami family to be living in misery – that the reportage even led to political reforms. “Lez Karesuando” made the Swedish State set money to build Sami families’ homes. Bert Persson has continued to follow the Päiviös and is, as a photographer, deeply engaged in the Sami culture.

Bert Persson has traveled taking photographs for several Swedish and foreign magazines and newspapers. As a photographer and entrepreneur, he put Arctic Scandinavia on the map as a place to visit from very early on. During his long professional life he has gathered unique cultural documentation. For example, the Swedish Armed Forces commissioned Bert Persson to document the development of the tracked vehicle. First, he followed the work in the field of experimental prototypes of various kinds and then also the manufacturing and testing of the car that came to be mass produced.

Exhibition view.