American photographer Eric Pickersgill removed the smartphones and digital devices from his portraits of everyday life. The project “Removed” aims to show our addiction to technology and hyper-connectivity, and Pickersgill knows that he’s also amongst the addicted.
The photographer was inspired by a chance encounter in a New York cafe. “Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another,” Pickersgill writes in his notes from that day. “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.”
He achieved the surreal effect in his photos by asking strangers and friends to remain in position, 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”
“I’m not attempting to tell others what to do with their time, I’m just hopefully offering up a moment of realization”
“I just personally need the reminder to put it down because it is an addiction”
Thank you Eric Pickersgill for the interview!