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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Connection/ Disconnection

Some things are happening over here but I don't want to jinx anything. Life has been moving quickly this week, with new connections and old reconnections across the board, and I'm convinced all of this is unfolding because I opened myself up to it, I came out of hiding, hard as that is for me. The possibilities look promising, and I am trying to have faith that what is to be, already is.

In the midst of my high anxiety at showing up all over the place, I haven't been posting or commenting as much. I've been faithfully reading your blogs on my phone when I fall into bed at night, but trying to comment from the small screen is tedious and iffy. If you have a Wordpress blog, after I've painstakingly tapped out the comment, it just disappears. This didn't used to happen, so I'm not sure what changed. In any case, I'm keeping up. I'll be back to posting more regularly soon, but in the meantime, here's something I ran across while swiping screens on my phone in bed last night, my husband next to me reading on his Kindle.

Photographer Eric Pickersgill, who teaches in the Fine Arts program at UNC Chapel Hill, wanted to show how disconnected people have become in everyday life, so he removed all electronic devices from this series of photos. The project, which he titled "Removed," was inspired after he saw a family sitting next to him in a cafe. Here's how he describes the scene on his website:

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. 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. I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction. 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.

The image of that family, the mother's face, the teenage girls' and their father's posture and focus on the palm of their own hands has been burned in my mind. It was one of those moments where you see something so amazingly common that it startles you into consciousness of what's actually happening and it is impossible to forget. I see this family at the grocery store, in classrooms, on the side of the highway and in my own bed as I fall asleep next to my wife. We rest back to back on our sides coddling our small, cold, illuminated devices every night.






See the rest of the project here.

19 comments:

  1. It is beautiful and brave and hard work to be open. Sending good energy toward new possibilities.

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  2. Yep. Scary as fucking hell. I notice this all the time and it freaks me out and I do it too.
    Now- as to your possibilities becoming realities?
    Yes! Yes! Yes!

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  3. I am also dealing with anxiety. (Stayed home from work today.) Thinking about going to my doctor to try a different medication but the transition faze is terrible at best and then I am not sure if it will even work.

    Those pictures are so sad. What are we to do?

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    1. Birdie, some of them are sad. Others of them just seem true. Does that make sense?

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  4. These photos are eerie and, as Birdie says, they are sad. I saw a young mother and her toddler at the eye doctor one day, the mom on her smartphone the whole time, the little girl watching her mother's face and trying occasionally to interact with her. It was heartbreaking.

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    1. Jenny_o, now that is a sad story. That poor kid.

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  5. I am pretty hard core about tech in my house. Lola is now down to one allowed hour after school on her phone and that's fucking IT. I don't care if I'm mean. It's ruining family life.

    I hope you feel so much better sweetheart. I love you. As you know I'm in so much anxiety and sadness and while I hate to hear that you are too, I can at least offer that you aren't alone. You are brave. You face yourself.. xoxox

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    Replies
    1. Maggie, it's wonderful to hear your voice here. I've been sending healing thoughts to you. I do know.

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  6. So much isolation in those photos. Photography is so powerful, though -- and we bring such prejudice and subjective interpretation. I am thinking of the old Depression-era photos -- the expressions in people's eyes and wondering whether we project our own "stuff" on them. Just thinking.

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    1. Elizabeth, you raise such an interesting point. You're right, of course. The artist brings himself and his interpretation.

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  7. Always reading you, rarely commenting too. (Accidental poet). Can't wait to hear about the swirling things.

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    1. SJ, I've missed your voice. So nice to see you! Hope you're well.

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  8. I hate to see people doing that when they sit at a table "together". BUT the photos with just 2 people, each on a device, but their skin is touching - in my opinion there is still a connection there, skin to skin is powerful.

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    1. Stephanie, I hadn't thought of that before you said it but I totally agree!

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  9. So sad. Encourages me to keep trying to keep those things away from B.B. and reducing our screen time as a family. I think it will be a long, long battle!

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  10. My youngest son brought his family by to see my husband and me Sunday evening. Dad and mom spent most of the time on their cell phones, reading, leaving 6 month old granddaughter to interact with her grandparents. I tried to start a conversation with mom, she's answer my questions but with a pause, she'd be back on the cell. It was so different from the way it was when my children were babies or small children and we visited family. The adults would interact with each other and the children simultaneously, words everywhere. It was hard for me to be in that picture and felt very strange.

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