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Photographer masterfully illustrates the absurdity of our tech addiction

By Shawn Knight · 23 replies
Oct 15, 2015
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  1. As I looked around the crowded waiting room ahead of an appointment with my doctor last week, I couldn’t help but notice a familiar scene. People of all ages were hunched over in their seats, glued to their smartphones and oblivious to their surroundings.

    The scenario isn’t all that different from what inspired photographer Eric Pickersgill to create a project called Removed.

    As explained on his website, Pickersgill was at a café in New York when he noticed a family that was completely disconnected from the real world. The father and two daughters each were affixed to their smartphones while the mother started out the window, seemingly sad and alone in the company of her family. The mom eventually gave in, pulled out her phone and dove into the digital world.

    Pickersgill said he didn’t snap a photo of the family but the image has been burned in his mind.

    With Removed, Pickersgill has recreated the common moments we see every day in which people are interacting with mobile devices. For the series, he asked people to pose with their phones then he removed the phones and snapped the photo.

    Most people wouldn’t think twice when seeing someone on their phone while getting their hair cut, socializing with friends and yes, even driving. His collection really puts all of that into perspective and highlights just how disconnected we’ve all become.

    All images courtesy Eric Pickersgill

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,456   +1,735

    The problem of out time:

    - why bother with a single person when socializing with the world is so much more fun? :)
    Business Direct likes this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,505   +3,502

    "His collection really puts all of that into perspective and highlights just how disconnected we’ve all become."

    Nope. It demonstrates how disconnected most people have become, millenials in particular.

    I don't whip out my smartphone during social occasions. Most people I hang out with don't either.

    Dated a girl once who was fascinated by the iPhone 4 when it came out. I was over at her house and she was fidgeting around with the thing trying to import contacts or somesuch. I told her, "I didn't drive all the way over here to watch you mess with your phone." She promptly turned it off and it wasn't a problem after that.

    The moral of the story: people disconnect because those around them fail to pull them back into the moment. Every single picture in that gallery demonstrates a failure of one person to simply say "I'm right here."

    ...Except for the people operating motor vehicles. They're all *******s.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    A picture is worth a thousand words!

    OMG; email and texting is more interesting than the man/woman you are with - - more interesting than your wedding day????

    Hum, imo, two more points on their IQ score and they might have qualified to be a rock!
    learninmypc likes this.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    I can only imagine that what came next was just another day. Therefor not as exciting as it could have been and they were willing to wait till later. I'd also be willing to bet that was not their first marriage (I'll admit I'm assuming by their age), meaning nothing new.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,797   +1,537

    Susan Sontag put together a book years ago titled "On Photography" in which she explained our fascination with photographs and photography. She explained our need for evidence of our existence, of the people we have met, where we have been, etc. All part of self identification and proof of all those other things in a way we could show others around us. The high tech world seems to have taken above and beyond that idea to the point that "being there" on line is a higher value than being there in person. Describing this all as an addiction could not be more true, as is evidence of how phones and computer are now used. Your kid is bad, you limit their on line time. They are good, you get them the next greatest device. Their reality is defined by the device they own and their celebrity is created by showing it off to their peers.

    It is an old convention of the security services that if you want to enslave a population you (a) keep them stupid and (b) give them time for sex. In other words, you occupy their minds and feed their most basic urges. We may have finally found the perfect replacement in a single device .....
    jobeard likes this.
  7. Hyrax

    Hyrax TS Enthusiast Posts: 22   +7

    I'm actually surprised over this kind of article on Techspot. I have mixed feelings about this. It's something I see shared on Facebook from Buzzfeed with the title "They Removed Smartphones From These Pictures And You Can't Believe What Happened".
    It seems kind of off for me. Maybe it's only today.
  8. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,315   +258

    When you spend more time on your phone than with your partner/friends while WITH THEM, you have issues.
    jobeard likes this.
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,002   +2,886

    Yeah it's the height of bad manners when you're conversing with someone and they find their phones more interesting. When somebody does that to me I call them rude pigs, make sure they've heard me then walk away, if they run after me I simple ignore them.
    Once I was receiving assistance from an assistant in the supermarket when his phone rang, he answered it and started up a casual conversation with his buddy completely ignoring me, it carried on for about 5 minutes before I grabbed the phone from his ear and smashed it on the floor right in front of him, turned around and walked away. When he grabbed me by the shoulder, his face contorted with rage I said absolutely nothing and slapped him hard right on the earhole. Needless to say that was the end of the argument right then and there and I walked out of the shop.
    He still works there and I see him from time to time but now he has the decency to greet me when he sees me.
    Capaill likes this.
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,505   +3,502

    A bit more extreme than I'd prescribe for the situation, but I won't argue with results.
  11. Cassiebeak

    Cassiebeak TS Rookie

    An anti-technology article on a technology website? Really? Might as well be a photoset about how we're all addicted to light bulbs or indoor plumbing.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,002   +2,886

    Yes it was the sheer arrogance of the man made me blow my top. Normally I'm not like that at all but obviously I was also highly embarrassed by the scene that was caused in public.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  13. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    IMO, getting his name and discussing with the manager would have a greater effect on the employee. Did this years ago on a flight from LA to NYC - - got two apologies and I'm sure the stewardess was reprimanded.
  14. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,530   +514

    Perhaps an effective strategy would have been to say to the employee, "If you don't get off the phone right now, I'm going to see your Manager."
  15. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,002   +2,886

    You're right of course. I do regret it but it's in the past now. He could've laid a charge of assault and property damages against me but he never.
    I've since apologised to him, replaced his phone and we greet each other nowadays.
    It's a good thing it was in the days before smartphones, it was an old Nokia 5110 of his which I smashed (come to think of it I'm surprised that tough old warhorse broke)
    Capaill likes this.
  16. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,002   +2,886

    See below your post.
  17. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,530   +514

    Awesome. If she remained "on the phone," I would have left.

    Personally, I can't say that I totally agree with this. As I see it, the establishment of healthy boundaries would require saying once, and only once, the behavior is unacceptable. If it has to be said more than once, I would be inclined to say that there is a problem with the relationship. The way I see things, people should not have to constantly exert their power over others.

    I saw an excellent bumper sticker for such situations:
  18. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 261   +39

    All aboard the no mobile device train!

    ..Wait, why am I the only one on it?

    Yeah, I can't believe how bad the world has become in recent years. Even my parents (mother especially) can't go 5 minutes without using their smartphone; including while driving. Get a text? Oh, drop EVERYTHING and look at it.

    Things will only continue to get worse..
  19. Underdog

    Underdog TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +22

    I'm amazed how so many people think they are so important that they need to be less than arms length from their communications device. Are your calls or texts really that earth-shatteringly important? I kinda doubt it. Do your friends and family think that if you don't call them every half hour they are no longer part of your life? Are you all so insecure you need your lifeline at your fingertips 24/7? How many of you spend literally hundreds on the latest phone when the one you dumped 5 years ago would still serve a useful purpose? Wake up America.
  20. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,290   +373

  21. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,290   +373

    Then they bump into you at the store & ***** because you were in "their" way.
  22. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,505   +3,502

    I'm going to play devil's advocate on the last point, insofar as it concerns smartphones.

    Unless you use your (smart)phone exclusively for phone calls and email, carrying a 5-year-old device is impractical due to developers dropping support for those phones in their apps. You could certainly forgo an upgrade, but doing so generally comes with more costs than benefits after five years.
    Sancticide likes this.
  23. Underdog

    Underdog TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +22

    Developers dropping support?
    I'm not sure what you mean by support. If support means dealing with "in-built" flaws that should have been fixed before coming to market then I see your point. If you mean developers will create new stuff that won't work on an older device then you are just playing the great game of consumerism. Gotta have the latest gadget, regardless of price or actual useful value. Most of the stuff that has been added to mobile phones is of doubtful usefulness to most users and an ordinary PC or laptop will do them to a much higher standard. How many of you strain your eyes to watch a movie on a screen the size of a cigarette pack, or to make out a photo of an item on ebay that has been taken with a phone instead of a proper camera? I don't for one minute expect people to hang on to their old first gen mobiles that were the size and weight of a house brick but there is only so much to be gained by buying newer and newer stuff just to be fashionable. On second thought..........I once left my old house brick on the roof of the car and drove away forgetting it was there. When it crashed down to the ground at the first stop sign I picked it up to find that apart from a minor scratch on the case it was still working. You can't even sit on your precious "smart" phone without destroying it.
  24. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,505   +3,502

    By support I mean bug fixes and functionality for significant (non-entertainment) apps. After the five year mark, both app developers and Apple/Google (OS updates) start dropping support for older hardware. It also prevents, in many cases, users from accessing truly useful apps that were not designed with 5+ year old phones in mind. Consequently, the actual utility of a smartphone dramatically declines after five years.

    Upgrading to a new phone every model year? That's a complete waste of money, I agree. But buying a new (current gen) phone every 3-5 years seems pretty reasonable to me if the device serves a practical purpose (or if you happen to be a developer).

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