As much as we wish it weren't true, it's almost fact that most of us are addicted to smartphones. We check them right when we wake up, just before falling asleep, and whip them out at a moment's notice during weddings, concerts, and other memorable parts of our lives. One photographer set out to capture this addiction by photographing people using their smartphones — but removing the phones from the situations.
Eric Pickersgill, a visiting lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the photographer behind the series titled Removed. His project began when he noticed an entire family distracted by their phones at a cafe. "I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting," he wrote in a description about the project. From there, he started taking photos of people holding their pose while pretending to hold a phone.
The response to his project has been a mix of reactions, with some feeling embarrassed. "Others, specifically when accessing the content online, proudly exclaim 'hypocrite' or 'too bad I'm reading this on a device,'" said Pickersgill. "I'm not attempting to tell others what to do with their time, I'm just hopefully offering up a moment of realization much like the one that I experienced in the cafe at the onset of the project."
While smartphones bring many benefits and sometimes help us extend our memories by being able to look back at special moments in our lives, it's also true that those memories are almost more beautiful by re-creating the scene in our minds. Either way, if you're a person who is able to exist without their phone for a long period of time or someone who would learn from attending a digital detox camp or doing a digital detox on your own, the photos ahead should be enough to make you realize how much our smartphones are limiting our everyday interactions.