In a world where digital technology advances at a rapid rate, increasingly fewer people can seemingly resist the allure of looking at their phone or other digital devices, often to the detriment of being truly present in the moment.
It’s not uncommon, when walking down a busy street filled with people, to see more people looking at their phones than actually acknowledging the existence of the other people with a friendly “hello,” sharing a pleasant smile or even simply making eye contact.
Photographer Eric Pickersgill has captured this digital disconnect between people with a stunning series of photos. The images reveal exactly how removed from one another people are increasingly becoming as they choose the digital world over three-dimensional reality.
Pickersgill was inspired to create the project, which he titled Removed while sitting in a local café one morning and watching a family essentially ignoring one another:
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.
It’s a virtual certainty that most of us see similar scenarios play out on a daily basis, or perhaps have even engaged in this behavior ourselves. To highlight the absurdity of how utterly disconnected people are becoming from one another he took photographs of everyday life with a twist; he removed the electronic objects from the pictures.
Here are some of the thought-provoking photos he posted on his website:
These photos serve as a reminder and wake-up call that we are missing out on valuable opportunities to be present and connected with other people, and to teach our children the value that exists in one human connecting with another.
This is not to lay the blame on the technology itself, as people ultimately choose whether they engage with those around them. A person’s inability to communicate, connect or truly be present with those they come into contact with cannot be blamed on a tool. The ultimate responsibility for creating meaningful relationships with others falls upon ourselves.
It is also important to note that when someone is looking at their phone, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are detached from reality or the present. The smartphone’s ability to remove distance between friends, allow them to communicate in groups, in chats, voice, and video has paved the way for a broader communication among humanity.
For those looking to put down their phone down and to be more in the moment, an easy way to start is by choosing to start engaging in specific activities without a digital distraction. Take a walk, go for a hike, read a book, prepare a meal, spend time with family — without the distraction of social media and digital devices. Allow yourself the opportunity be more present and to engage with the people you care about most, or just say hello to a stranger.
Please share this if you or someone you know could benefit from being less connected digitally, and more present in the moment!
h/t- Collective Evolution
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and maany other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu