It is no secret that in today’s technology-driven society, we’re guilty of some serious Nomophobia, otherwise known as a fear of being without our phones (there’s also what’s known as ‘Phubbing‘). The affliction has become so that researchers have officially termed it and come up with a study to see if you too are a sufferer. We’ve reported countless times about the unhealthy side effects of such an addiction; it has been linked to depression, increased anxiety, weight gain and much more.
This technology addiction is a natural by-product of our heightened, uber-connected society, and we’re showing no signs of stepping back from this, as a project by a US photographer depicts.
Photographer Eric Pickersgill created a series of shots called removed, in which he simply removes the smartphones and technology from all the occupants of the pictures. The result highlights the powerful hold that technology has on us, and the photos look disturbingly eerie as each person stares blankly into space.
Pickersgill came up with the concept for the series after spotting a family eating breakfast together in a cafe while he was staying at an artist residency in New York. He noticed that the entire family, except for the mother, was on a phone – connecting with people and content elsewhere – rather than those they were sat with.
“It was the beautiful light and the mother who wasn’t using a device that made me see the situation as a photograph,” he told the Huffington Post. “I didn’t make that picture, but it exists in my mind as a very emotionally-charged image.” He explained that the idea for the project came from his own tech-addicted experience.
“One night after getting back from the residency I slipped back into my old ways of using my device while in bed with my wife, despite having that moment of realisation when I was in New York,” he explains.
“As my eyes began to slowly close while checking my emails, I awoke to the sound of my phone hitting the floor. Before I thought to bend over the edge to pick it up, I looked at my partially curled open palm resting on the edge of the bed that still held the shape of my dropped device.”
“I realised that that was how I would be able to make the photographs for ‘Removed‘.”
Pickersgill believes it’s the absence of the device itself that is more poignant and hopes his work will offer people a “moment of realisation” and make people more aware of how long they spend on their devices.
“I’m not attempting to tell others what to do with their time, I’m just hopefully offering up a moment of realisation much like the one that I experienced in the cafe at the onset of the project,” he said.
“I need the reminder to put my device down because it is an addiction,” he continued. The shots have warranted quite a reaction online, and we’ve posted a few of them below:
What are your thoughts on this?