The Bermuda Rectangle

A woman’s handbag is terra incognita to most men. How do women even manage to find anything in those dark, zipped up abysses? At least, that’s what photographer Sergei Stroitelev used to think. And then he had a brilliant idea. He asked women – some were friends, others were complete strangers – to reveal the contents of their totes, backpacks and clutches. The results were insightful.

The shooting process itself was quite unusual – especially when the photographer asked complete strangers to show him what was inside their bags.

“Some thought that I was a mugger. Others were convinced that I was crazy. Some, however, agreed to open their bags. Under their watchful eye, I felt like a detective during an interrogation. I carefully placed the contents of their bags on a black piece of cloth that I always had with me on hand. Afterwards, we scrupulously arranged still lifes out of all sorts of stuff, some of which was quite useless,” Sergei Stroitelev shared.

Stroitelev also asked the women for permission to take a snapshot of the photos in their picture IDs. He believes that, together, the pictures of personal belongings and their owners reflect the mentality of Russian women from a new angle.