Photographer Highlights Our Smartphone Obsession

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Eric Pickersgill knows the exact moment that moved him to examine our relationship with the ubiquitous smartphone. He wrote it in his diary:

“Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is 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. 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.”

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The Master of Fine Arts graduate believes that the technology has now taken “form as being one with the body.” He is disturbed by “this phantom limb … used as a way of signalling 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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He is not afraid of inserting himself into the photographs, recognising his own reliance “in my own bed as I fall asleep next to my wife.”

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For all it’s seriousness, Pickersgill understands that there is humour to be found in our obsession, however dark. For the full series, visit the project website http://www.removed.social/

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