A family who spends time together is a happy, connected family, right? Not these days. Mum, dad and the kids might have their hearts in the room, but their heads are in cyber clouds – and it’s enough to make you cringe.
Welcome to 2016: where people are more attached to their devices than to each other. So North Carolina photographer Eric Pickersgill created the photo essay Removed, showing families re-enacting scenes he experiences daily.
Eric says the joining of people to devices has been ” rapid and unalterable”.
“Far away places and people feel closer than ever before,” he says.
Yet the “phantom limb” holding on to a personal device is used to signal busyness and unapproachability to strangers and splits attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not, Eric says on his website.
The portraits are of individuals who appear to be holding personal devices although the devices have been physically removed from their hands.
Sitting in a New York café one morning, Eric noticed a family so disconnected from one another that the scene provided the inspiration for his latest photographs.
With the father and two daughters scrolling through their mobiles, the mother stared out the window, “sad and alone in the company of her closest family”.
“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,” Eric says.
“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.”
Eric says just about everyone is guilty of it, too.
“I see this family at the grocery store, in classrooms, on the side of the highway and in my own bed as I fall asleep next to my wife. We rest back to back on our sides coddling our small, cold, illuminated devices every night,” he says.
You can’t always draw your children away from technology, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your child’s iPad, so have a read of our post that tells you the safety tips you need to know.
(images via Eric Pickersgill)