CULTURE & ARTS

Frightening Photo Series Captures Just How Phone Dependent We've Become

Smartphones have forever changed going to the movies, riding on airplanes, and sitting in class.

It’s lurking in dimly lit movie theaters, in train stations, on park benches. It’s hiding in plain sight.

If you’re like the majority of Americans -- 64 percent, according to this year’s Pew Research Center study -- you own a smartphone, a snack-sized gadget that sort of dictates your social habits. According to that same study, the majority of smartphone owners look up health conditions and online banking information on their phones, in addition to the usual texting and browsing.

So, phones have become central to the functioning of many of our lives, beyond chatting with friends. As a wink to this quick technological proliferation, photographer Kamil Kotarba put together a photo series satirizing just how phone dependent we've become.

"It's pretty trivial, but I was motivated by observing my behavior and the behavior of people who surround me,” Kotarba told The Huffington Post. “I've noticed that,  involuntarily, I use my smartphone every now and again. Without any reason, just to check Facebook's newsfeed, watch Instagram photos or just slide finger across the screen, thoughtlessly. The technology changed my daily behavior.”

To comment on a fast-rising trend, Kotarba posed his friends in public spaces holding their phones, then photographed the space again without any subjects in it. He superimposed the two images together in Photoshop.

In the resulting series, “Hide and Seek,” Kotarba depicts bodiless hands hovering above couches, floating in men’s restrooms. Each is clutching a smartphone, making the artist’s statement clear: our phones haven’t just become extensions of ourselves. They’ve replaced our individual identities.

But, Kotarba said, he didn’t mean for his series to come across as preachy. “I just tried to take portraits of the phenomenon, and provoke reflection,” he says.

In fact, he struggles with being tied to his own phone. “I try not to use [my] smartphone during meetings but sometimes it just happens,” Kotarba said. “I'm still working on it.”

  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba
  • Kamil Kotarba

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