A World Transfixed by Screens

The continued massive growth of connected mobile devices is shaping not only how we communicate with each other, but how we look, behave, and experience the world around us. Smartphones and other handheld devices have become indispensable tools, appendages held at arm's length to record a scene or to snap a selfie. Recent news photos show refugees fleeing war-torn regions holding up their phones as prized possessions to be saved, and relatives of victims lost to a disaster holding up their smartphones to show images of their loved ones to the press. Celebrity selfies, people alone in a crowd with their phones, events obscured by the very devices used to record that event, the brightly lit faces of those bent over their small screens, these are some of the scenes depicted below. [Editor's note, this photo essay was previously published here earlier this year.]

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

    Southeast Asia's Rohingya Refugee Crisis Reaches a Terrible Peak

    The United Nations Refugee Agency now reports that more than 420,000 people have fled the violence in Burma since August 24.

  • Omar Torres / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Earthquake in Mexico City

    On September 19, 2017, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City, rattling skyscrapers and sending millions into the streets.

  • Stewart Tomlinson / U.S. Geological Survey

    A Photo Trip Through Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone, now 145 years old, was the first national park established in the world.

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    A Weekend of Protest in St. Louis

    On Friday, a judge in St. Louis found Jason Stockley, a white former St. Louis police officer, not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a black man named Anthony Lamar Smith.

Join the Discussion