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  • Writer's pictureevierobinson02

Sonder - the human experience

Sonder definition:

(this is used in U.S. English)


  • the feeling one has on realizing that every other individual one sees, has a life as full and real as one’s own, in which they are the central character and others, including oneself, have secondary or insignificant roles: In a state of sonder, each of us is at once a hero, a supporting cast member, and an extra in overlapping stories.

People have a tendency to consider themselves as the "main character" and everybody else is just the supporting cast or just NPCs (Non-Player Characters in video games) and their thoughts, opinions and beliefs are insignificant in comparison to their own.

I am researching the concept of Sonder because I want these people in my photographs to be known as individuals who have their own lived experiences and own personal lives that may be very different or very similar to our own. We can relate to these people because they are just like us, going through life with their own set of struggles and obstacles and even the lack thereof.


  • The realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.


In 2012, created by John Koeing, an author and neologist. He ran a project named The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which has the objective of inventing new words to describe emotions that do not have words to explain them. (Inspired by the German sonder meaning special and the French sonder meaning to probe.)


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