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