American activist Susan Sontag says in her book On Photography that “to photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed”.
Sontag’s view on photography was the basis used by photographer Anggara Mahendra in creating this image series.
When taking pictures of strangers for journalistic and mass media works, the photographer tries his best to get to know his subjects. Anggara positions himself as a stranger who captures images of other strangers he meets on the streets.
The development of digital enhancement technology has forced the photographer to work harder in producing honest work because, nowadays, people often assume that images are digitally enhanced to look better.
The boundary between treating strangers as merely objects and as living subjects is very thin — it depends on each photographer’s personal approach.
Strangers whom the photographer captures might not be aware that images of them can turn into a viral sensation once they are uploaded to the online world. In this case, the strangers are an illustration of Anggara, who makes his imagination come true by using a camera.
Additionally, visual images can represent so many interpretations and expressions, from happiness to sadness to fear and so forth. Eventually, a string of images are capable of producing a certain mood for those viewing them.