Photographer Eric Pickersgill created a photo series called “Removed,” based on a casual observation he had one time at a local café. In his mildly edited photos, he takes all electronic devices out of the pictures to portray the significant yet often unnoticed disconnect that happens in our everyday lives.

“Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family,” Eric talks about that day in the café that inspired the project. “Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies.”

He continues, “I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and I doubt we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now.”

According to the Pew Research Center, a staggering 65% of American adults use social media today. This is a steep number compared to 10 years ago when Pew’s research started and only 7% of the country did social media.

Many would deem this a “digital pandemic,” with us seeing people looking at their phones more than smiling at each other. While we the creatives here at TAE love social media and electronic devices too, we try our best to do it within moderation of course. However we have observed the same thing nearly everywhere we go, and we’re sure so have you.

Born in 1986 in Florida, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based artist is a certified millennial who grew up right in the middle of the age of technology. Have a look at Eric’s astounding series and see how it might touch you and make you rethink how you interact with the people around you. Hopefully this series goes viral enough that people can understand what’s going on. While the pictures are posed, the artist’s sentiments are real.

“The large format portraits are of individuals who appear to be holding personal devices although the devices have been physically removed from the sitter’s hand. They are asked to hold their stare and posture as I remove their device and then I make the exposure,” he reveals on his website. “The photographs represent reenactments of scenes that I experience daily.”

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Check out more of the series at the Removed page, or view the artist’s website for more of his photo projects. He also has an Instagram you can follow. All pictures are shot by and owned by the artist.

h/t: Collective Evolution