“What’s in your bag” photography project re-imagined at the University of Hertfordshire

[Marie Land Andersen | Contributing Writer]

The author of this contribution to BlueMoon’s Weird and Wonderful edition stumbled across the work of photographer Jason Travis during her nightly internet roaming on her smartphone whilst she’s technically supposed to be trying to sleep.

Travis set out to capture the persona of strangers on his travels by asking to photograph what they carried in their bags and/or pockets. There doesn’t seem to be a lot more to the art project than that, but whilst scrolling through the captions, a theme seemed to emerge where there seemed to not be a single condom, old receipt, tampon, or pocket lint in sight!

Whilst I will not go so far as to say that the whole thing was staged, I will point out that it is rather unusual for someone to walk around carrying a machete, and yet the photographer managed to find two who just happened to walk around with a rusty sword in their shoulder bag. This is not to mention the guy who had three different generation vintage GameBoys, (which I am absolutely not knocking – personally I used to walk around with a Gameboy Advance I bought off of Ebay and a Donkey Kong cartridge…) but what kind of situation is that man expecting to encounter that requires having three vintage GameBoys, is what I want to know.

So, I took the liberty of re-creating this project, and approached a few people and asked them to empty their bags (in a non-threatening, non-robbery kind of way, of course!) for me to photograph.


Farhad Qurashi, a 1st year Mathematics student, emptied his bag for me enthusiastically and the content can be seen below:

Farhad's crap

I noted that there was a Play Station controller among his items, and he stated it was because he wanted to be prepared for a virtual showdown with his friend.


Besa Terholli, a 3rd year Advertisement and Marketing student, was not afraid to show me her’s and poured out the content of her bag onto a sticky Ele House table.

Besa's crap

She remarked that even though there were two eyelash curlers in there, she actually never used them and we couldn’t quite reach a conclusion as to why she’d bother carrying them around.