This is what smartphones do to our social lives

A British photographer who goes by the name "Babycakes Romero" is a sharp observer of his environment and fellow humans. With his camera in hand, he moves through his hometown of London and documents places, people, and moments.

Several years ago he started to notice how what seemed like intimate and social moments were more and more dominated by one particular object: the smartphone. He began to photograph people who were focused on their phones, trying to figure out the paradox of loneliness and isolation in the middle of a society.

He emphasizes that he doesn't inherently condemn mobile phones though. He writes: "I don’t have a problem with portable tech specifically, because our devices facilitate our lives, but I believe it is making people seriously dull… I started to photograph people in company on their phones as there was a certain symmetry to them and it appealed on a visual level, but as I continued I noticed an inherent sadness to the proceedings."

 

"Before mobile phones were invented, people would have had no choice but to interact. However, that is no longer necessary as we can all now 'pretend' we are doing something 'important' on our devices rather than think of something to say. This is killing conversation. I believe it’s increasing social pain.

Most people used to use cigarettes as a social prop. Admittedly, they’re bad for your health, but at least they didn’t turn people into ‘plugged in’ bores. Together we must be strong and release ourselves from the shackles of smartphones and bring face-to-face chat back!"

These pictures can sure give you pause. Many people have already lamented that we live more and more in a technological bubble. Even if the concerns are exaggerated, you can't deny that these photographs exude a certain sadness. Maybe at some point in the future, the next message, the next status update or Snapchat just won't be as important.

Who knows what wonderful people we'll discover back in real life!

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