by Kevin Rabida . October 14th, 2015
Photo credit: Japanexperterna.se
It’s hard to imagine that it was only a few years ago that smartphones became available to the public. And that’s broadly speaking. The idea of a personal digital assistant device was conceptualized in 1994 but smartphones as we know them today only started with the iOS which was launched in 2007 and Android the year after.
Smartphones, in tandem with the internet, removed geographical barriers and provided a level of connectivity only available through technology. People became closer.
Or did they?
This is the concept explored by artist and photographer Eric Pickersgill in his black and white photo series Removed.
Eric observed that while we enjoy the benefits of technology, its 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,” explains Eric.
He calls these devices our “phantom limbs” that promote the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not.
The series started when Eric observed a family sitting next to him in a cafe in New York and their disconnection from one another.
“The image of that family, the mother’s face, the teenage girls’ and their father’s posture and focus on the palm of their own hands has been burned in my mind. 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.”
This concept is captured in Eric’s surreal and somewhat depressing images created by removing the smartphones in each pic. The resulting images shift our attention from smartphones in a meta kind of way, and focus towards the ironic disconnection brought by technology.
Check out the rest of Removed here. More of Eric’s work can be seen on his website.
Can you live without smartphones? Comment below!