Guld Vittring talks to Montana World about documenting graffiti, respecting nature and showing respect for culture produced miles from urban centers.
He calls himself “The Luckiest Man Alive,” and if we’re to judge his life from the images and video he posts, we might be inclined to agree. The spectacular settings that Guld Vittring finds himself in appear genuinely inspirational, and through his lens we can appreciate the work of writers in the Scandinavian wilderness. We caught up with him after the recent publication of the trailer for his new film, “Kapitel 4.”
Guld Vittring is an Instagram account but you also publish on YouTube. How do you define your project? What’s the meaning of its name?
Less attitude and more positivity and jocularity in graffiti. I want to show a more creative and not so destructive side of graffiti. Guld/gold is all the good things in life. Travels, friends, paintings, nature and partys. The word ʼguldvittringʼ also refers to sports.
tʼs when youʼre close to the gold medal. You can smell the gold.
Your work is made up of photography stills and video footage. What are you trying to capture or convey with the image?
I try to always think different and strive for perfection. I want to take you there, to feel what we feel being there. Also capture the surroundings, to me thats whatʼs important. The people and the place. Not the paintings.
‘Graffiti is egoistic, no doubt. I put my pieces in places were i think it fits in. Someone else will for sure think it doesn’t. But you take care of what you love right? So always be kind to nature.’
In Guld Vittring we see a vision of graffiti that in most cases is moved far away from the urban context. What is the meaning of graffiti outside the city?
I always been a fan of the small-town life. Sweden is a big country with few people. Itʼs a problem here that all the activity and political investments are so focused on the big cities. If youʼre not from a large town youʼre considered a nobody.
But I like the people and the environments for example up north. Itʼs like the forgotten land, a land of the free. And I like to tell their stories.
In this type of graffiti, what’s more important: the fact that the pieces last much longer or the fact that they remain hidden? The fact that the photo you get is magical, or the search for a mystical experience?
I think itʼs a mixture of the search for experience and a magical photo. Im also a restless person and always down for some exploring.
Some people could think that graffiti is aesthetically invasive or even anti-ecological in a natural environment. What would you say to them?
I agree, to a point. Graffiti is egoistic, no doubt. I put my pieces in places were i think it fits in. Someone else will for sure think it doesn’t. But you take care of what you love right? So always be kind to nature.
Freight trains are a frequently portrayed in your images, thanks to the remote places where they can be painted. What’s it like to do graffiti on freights in Sweden?
To me, freight trains is a perfect substitute for trains in traffic. There’s times when you can’t risk getting caught and fucking your shit up.
With freight trains you get the same tracks, atmosphere, ambience, friendship and format of painting. Sometimes even a little bit of adrenaline.
‘I’m a photojournalist and I love to tell stories from all corners about everyday people.’
Do you think that Swedish graffiti has characteristics that make it different from other countries? Which ones?
Style-wise, hard to say. As people I think we are very calm and collected.
Reindeers, northern lights, fireworks… can you explain more peculiar situations that you have experienced on these excursions?
My friend Waffle actually got attacked by a raindeer while painting a train bridge up north. I was painting around the corner and got really scared when I heard the noise, thinking it was a bear. But when i saw the deer and that he got away, I laughed big time.
What are the most striking landscapes you have witnessed, and why?
Abisko, because of the railroad crossing through the mountains all surrounded by northern lights. But also some wonderful yards in Norway, Austria and Slovenia. There are some mind-blowing landscapes over there.
Does your photographic work cover other subjects apart from Guld Vittring? Which ones?
For sure it does. I’m a photojournalist and I love to tell stories from all corners about everyday people.
Why do you consider yourself the luckiest man alive?
Haha it’s kind of a word game since my signature is the opposite of being lucky. It’s also a great tune from the Swedish artist Chords.
”I must be the luckiest man alive, so many people around are stuck in a nine-to-five.”
We spoke to Guld as part of our special content focussed on photography on the blog and across our social media challenge. Search for #mtnphotographymonth to check out all the features related to our favourite photographers.