Plugged-in, tuned-out: Tech addiction in images
A photographers' images of everyday situations with phones removed reveal society's loneliness.
Huffington Post co-founder Ariana Huffington has spoken openly about our increasing dependenace on technology, and our addictions to the screen. In her book Thrive, she speaks of society’s need to redefine success: how our "plugged-in, tuned-in, burnout culture” is leading to the erosion of our human capital – our ability to enjoy our lives, and feel fulfilled. “Millennials grew up attached to technology, wired 24/7, waking up next to our smart phones, texting and driving, checking social media while on a cute date… we're all guilty”.
Huffington says our increasing reliance on smartphones is due to the hard time we have being alone, and points out that 20% of people use their smartphones during sex.
Eric Pickersgill, a US photographer, has almost created the visual proof of Huffington's observations - in his series Removed, he's taken a series of portraits of everyday life (couples in bed, families having dinner), however has removed the digital devices from them, to reveal figures looking lonely and lacking without their devices. He achieved the surreal effect in his photos by asking strangers and friends to freeze, before removing their mobiles and then taking the shot.
Huffington recommends in Thrive banning backlit devices before bed, citing that artificial light tinkers with the brain’s ability to produce sleep-making chemicals (melatonin): “The problems that people have sleeping, a lot of them are connected to screens. People are just on their screens up until the last moment. They wake up to go to the bathroom, and they immediately turn to their data, as if something major is going to happen... Do you keep devices by your bed when you go to sleep? I ask you, please, to never do that again.”
Images below from Removed: