A good photographer is able to look at the world and capture what our eye has neglected. The pictures become a mirror of what society ought to see but somehow hasn’t. In his ‘Removed’ series, Pickersgill has attempted to show how salient an aspect of our lives has become by forcing us to look at its absence: he has removed all technology.
The New York-based professional photographer got the idea for this series in a coffee shop: the family in front of him was hardly communicating at all, each one obsessed with his screen.
Of a picture he later took he said, ”The father and two sisters have their smartphones out. The mother doesn’t have one or has decided to leave it out. She looks out the window, sad and lonely despite the company of her loved ones. The father looks up from time to time to share a piece of information he found on the Internet. The mother also pulls out her phone.
Twice, the father talks about this big fish that was caught. No one answers. I am then saddened by this use of technology to interact.Eric Pickersgill, photographer
It’s impossible for Pickersgill to get the image of this particular family out of his head. For him, it’s become a group of individuals fixated on their phones. He keeps seeing the same scene again in the supermarket, at school, on the sidewalk and even in his own bed, when he and his wife, back to back, start tapping on the screen of their cell phone.
Despite the obvious benefits that advances in technology have brought to our society, the physical and social implications are revealing.Eric Pickersgill, photographer
To denounce this excessive involvement of technology in our lives, he had the idea to ask people to stay in their position, then gently remove smartphones, tablets and other devices from their hands and thus capture those moments of solitude.
Faces lost in the void, open hands, and above all, the expression of this blatant gap between real life and connected life. One of the images shows a recently married couple who, as soon as the ceremony is over, is already on a smartphone.
It almost calls into question my original idea, given that the Internet can bring people together. Well, at least at first.Eric Pickersgill, photographer
The effects that ‘Removed’ may have on us are twofold: they are sad and eerie, and a reminder that life is happening around us while we gaze down at our phones.