Connected From Afar, Isolated From Up-Close

Yesterday we compiled a series of photographs from Eric Pickersgill:

In each portrait, electronic devices have been edited out so that people stare at their hands, or the empty space between their hands, often ignoring beautiful surroundings or opportunities for human connection. The results are a bit sad and eerie—and a reminder, perhaps, to put our phones away.

The entire “Removed” series is here. But a reader, referencing the above tweet, offers a contrarian take:

There were no glory days when family members, lovers, or friends paid attention to each other during every hour spent together. People read books and newspapers, knitted, listened to the radio, watched TV, darned socks, put together jigsaw puzzles.

So let’s just let go of this notion that cell phones are isolating people. More often than not, they are conversing with others on the other end of that cell phone conversation, people who in the past would have been out of their lives because it was too expensive to call long distance and letters took ages to get there.

The aforementioned tweet makes me thing of this photo from 1946: