While working in a coffee shop one morning in upstate New York, photographer Eric Pickersgill was struck by the image of a family sitting together, but engaging separately with their own devices.
“I didn’t make that picture, but it exists in my mind as an image — a very emotionally charged image,” he wrote in a statement to Mashable.
This moment would go on to inspire Pickersgill’s latest project titled “Removed”, a series that takes the tech out of photos of people engaging with smartphones and tablets to shed a little light on potential mobile phone addiction.
What’s left are eerie images of couples, families, friends and strangers staring blankly at their empty hands.
Pickersgill says the reaction to “Removed” has been varied. “Others, specifically when accessing the content online, proudly exclaim ‘hypocrite’ or ‘too bad I’m reading this on a device’. My reaction to that is one of satisfaction,” he writes in his statement.
“I’m not attempting to tell others what to do with their time, I’m just hopefully offering up a moment of realization much like the one that I experienced in the cafe at the onset of the project.”
BONUS: Put Down Your Phone and Go Outside