Photographer Eric Pickersgill's photography series "Removed" asks us to imagine ourselves unplugged--particularly from the phones and tablets that we just can't seem to separate ourselves from. By having his subjects pose as if using imaginary phones, he leaves us with some rather amusing imagery of people completely engrossed in seemingly nothing (and perhaps even with the phones, we very-well may be), but also proposes a reflective commentary about our social behaviors, writing on his website:

This phantom limb is used as a way of signaling busyness and unapproachability to strangers while existing as an addictive force that promotes the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not.

The benefits of smartphones and similar technology in everyday life are quite evident. However, there do come times when we find ourselves relying on them perhaps a bit too much, even in the presence of other people. Take a look at some samplings from his photo series to see if this is something you can relate to among your friends and family. At the very least, some of the results are amusing!

The initiative for this project seems to have been born from a sight we see all too often in our daily lives--a family seated over a communal meal only to retreat into the comfort of their cellphone world. Pickersgill recalls his unfortunate muse when he went to a New York cafe:

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...I am saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.