The series is part of “Checkpoint,” in which I explore the themes of control and security of society, their contradictions and relationships. The project was shot in St. Petersburg and presents X-ray images of subway passengers’ baggage.

First of all, I am interested in the subject of control — the phenomenon that has penetrated deep into our lives. Surveillance cameras, monitoring of telephone conversations and social networks, and searches in public places are part of routine daily life for many of us. These tools allow a multifaceted view of our society “in context” as a kind of X-ray, depriving society and its citizens of hidden truths and privacy.

The paradox of this system is interesting. It can create a feeling of internal security for a society, while expanding the borders of what is legally permissible. Likewise, people may start to feel safer and more protected when they own means of personal security, whether it’s teargas spray or even a firearm.

The internal rationale of the necessity of possessing weapons has changed, but the question remains: is it truly an effective guarantor of our safety, or it is a consequence of heightened paranoia? The role of weapons is increasingly prevalent in the sphere of entertainment, transforming violence into game and fantasies. Weapons feel more prominent in our present time, becoming part of our daily “hand luggage.”

I am not the creator of the original images, but by making copies of X-ray scans, I hope viewers will consider the implications of these “documents” beyond the reasons for which they were originally created.

—Ponomarev Oleg