A guide to the New East
Photography

In the bag: a colourful glimpse inside the lives of Russian metro passengers

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    Picnic set, tinned food, a bottle of wine. Nevsky district, Wednesday afternoon

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    Fort air gun - 12pm, a knife, mobile phone. Moskovsky district, Thursday evening

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    Kitchen knife. Moskovsky district, Tuesday morning

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    Traumatic pistol (a type of gas-powered non-lethal self-defence weapon; model unknown), glasses, walkie talkie. Moskovsky district, Friday afternoon

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    AKM Airsoft machine gun [for a game not dissimilar to paintball], bag of pellets, can of Spam. Central district, Saturday night

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    13 bottles of home-brewed spirit. Central district, Saturday night

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    A bottle of beer, a bottle of milk, eggs, a sausage, three empty cans, two spoons, a fork, a knife, a water heater. Central district, Saturday night

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    Clip for Makarov pistol. Admiralteysky district, Thursday morning

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    Jars of Vaseline. Admiralteysky district, Tuesday evening

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    A kitchen knife, shoes, a notepad. Nevsky district, Sunday evening

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    Extension cable. Nevsky district, Sunday evening

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    A set of kitchen knives. Moskovsky district, Friday night

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    A bowl, a plate, two spoons, a fork, phone charger, two glasses, a sausage. Central district, Saturday night

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    Shoes, dolls. Nevsky district, Monday evening

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    Two metal roses, a glass, a phone charger. Central district, Thursday evening

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    Laptop, АКСМ Airsoft machine gun, two clips, a knife. Central district, Sunday morning

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    Gas bottles, a spanner. Nevsky district, Sunday evening

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    МР 654К BB gun, machete, iPhone charger, keys. Nevsky District, Monday evening

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    МР- 81 traumatic pistol, a knife, keys. Central district, Tuesday morning

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    Nunchucks, umbrella, knife. Admiralteysky district, Monday morning

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Knives, air guns and moonshine: just some of the objects St Petersburgers are taking on the metro, as Oleg Ponomarev's photographs of X-ray scanners reveal. Ponomarev, who is from St Petersburg, has always been interested in the surveillance that individuals are subjected to: "I am interested in the paradox of the system," he says. "There are more and more different means of state control and surveillance, from cameras on buildings to social media monitoring, which are meant to create order, but people still don't feel safe, so they have to carry weapons.” Ponomarev’s photographs provide a curious insight into the hidden life of public transport passengers, but there is also something chilling about seeing the contents of a handbag or a picnic basket exposed — a sort of 21st-century, surveillance-era still life. "Susan Sontag compared the photographer to a voyeur," explains Ponomarev. "My project is about a different level of voyeurism: it's about watching the watchers."

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