Eye-Opening Photo Series Details The Impact Smartphones Have On Our Relationships
Lifestyle| | By Jason Owen
A new photo series is drawing praise online for how it depicts human interaction in light of our seeming addiction to our own personal devices. Photographer Eric Pickersgill’s latest project is called, “Removed,” where he removes the personal devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) held in his subjects’ hands, devices that he calls “phantom limbs.”
“The joining of people to devices has been rapid and unalterable,” wrote Pickersgill. “We have learned to read the expression of the body while someone is consuming a device, and when those signifiers are activated it is as if the device can be seen taking physical form without the object being present.” The striking images show people of all walks of life in everyday situations, but Pickersgill asked his participants to hold their posture and stares while he removed the device in their hands. Then he snapped away. So, where did Pickersgill conceive this idea? He said he witnessed it first hand. “Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, New York, is so disconnected from one another,” he wrote on his blog. “Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.” For all their usefulness in “connecting” people all over the world, Pickersgill series seems to suggest our obsession with social media is doing the exact opposite for humans.
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