Photographer Removes Phones From His Images To Show Our Addiction And Alienation

In this eye-opening series of photos, called “Removed”, American photographer Eric Pickersgill reveals the depressing truth of our massive addiction to smart phones and digital devices. He captures everyday people in every day activities and then he removes the smartphones from their hands. The photos are truly shocking as we observe families, friends and couples alienated ; next to each other but at the same time more afar than ever.

Pickersgill was inspired after seeing a family sitting in a cafe next to him that wasn’t communicate with each other because of their phones. “It was one of those moments where you see something so amazingly common that it startles you into consciousness of what’s actually happening and it is impossible to forget,” he wrote on the project website. “I see this family at the grocery store, in classrooms, on the side of the highway and in my own bed as I fall asleep next to my wife. We rest back to back on our sides coddling our small, cold, illuminated devices every night.”

Pickersgill, who is an artist with a Master of Fine Arts degree and teaches lectures, achieved the surreal effect in his photos by asking strangers and friends to remain still, removing their cellphones and then taking the shot.

The project inspiration came from a chance encounter in a NYC cafe

“Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY [was] so disconnected from one another”

“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”

“Despite the obvious benefits that these advances in technology have contributed to society, the social and physical implications are slowly revealing themselves”

“In similar ways that photography transformed the lived experience into the photographable, performable, and reproducible experience…”

“…personal devices are shifting behaviors while simultaneously blending into the landscape by taking form as being one with the body”

“This phantom limb is used as a way of signaling busyness and unapproachability to strangers while existing as an addictive force that promotes the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not”

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