BY: JESSICA BEUKER
A family sits down for breakfast at a New York café. Illium café it’s called. The family sits together, yet no one is talking. The father and two daughters have their phones out, while the mother, who has kept her phone away stares out the window looking sad and alone in the company of her own family. The dad looks up every now and again to announce an obscure and useless piece of information he found online.
No one replies. Eventually, the mother takes her own phone out and stares at it in the palm of her hand.
This is the image that American photographer, Eric Pickersgill witnessed one morning, forcing him to see what he had been so blind to before. “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,” writes Pickersgill on his website. “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.”
Despite the obvious benefits of technology, Pickersgill feels that the social and physical implications are slowly revealing themselves more and more. This awakening is what prompted him to create the project “Removed,” a photo series that aims to show our addiction to technology and our constant thirst for connectivity. He created the series by removing smartphones and electronic devices from his portraits of everyday life.
The result is a haunting and deeply sad look into the lives of couples, families and friends who have abandoned real, personal bonds for instant gratification and pseudo connections, trading in depth for frivolity.