Week #6: Story Critique
Photographs can be found here: http://www.removed.social/angieandme
This week in my reading response I wrote about how our addictions to smartphones and being connected to the internet impact or work-life balance (my focal theme). I included two sources, Smartphone stress: Are you a victim of ‘always on’ culture? and Relationship of Smartphone Use Severity with Sleep Quality, Depression, and Anxiety in University Students, that spoke of how the lines of work and home life can become blurred with our need to be online and how this affects our well-being. At this same time, I became aware of a photographic series called, “Removed” by the artist Eric Pickersgill. He created a series of photographs of people looking at their phones but with the phones removed. At a time when work-life balance is becoming blurred because of constant contact with the internet, this work displays this isolation and connectivity. In preparation for his exhibit, Eric Pickersgill created a video explaining his process and after his exhibit he explained his work in a Tedx Talk. For the purposes of this story critique, I will be focusing on the series of photographs and the story they tell.
- What types of “involvement” – and by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?
The artist Eric Pickersgill is making a statement about phone usage by capturing subjects in poses that seem ridiculous and isolating without their phones. The participants were asked to recreate their normal body language and expressions when using phones. It is implied that the audience will analyze the meaning of this work, their personal connections to the message it sends and possibly ideas about changing behavior.
- How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story?
The artist understood camera angles and the juxtaposition of the subjects when creating these photographs. He told a visual story by remixing what was expected with the unexpected in common situations and scenarios.
- What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story?
I first became aware of this photography on a Facebook post by a friend. This series became extremely popular through a variety of well-known online sources such as, slate.com, wired.com, theatlantic.com, thegaurdian.com, huffingtonpost.com and so on, who wrote articles celebrating the work. Through this attention it became viral on social media, eventually winding up on my Facebook feed. What is interesting is that these photographs criticize out constant connectivity which is where this material was found. The impact of this story is expanded by the medium in which it was shared.
- Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?
Had I not been aware of Eric Pickersgill video explaining his work and his Tedx Talk, I would have suggested a background view on the process of creating these photographs. I am assuming his video was displayed at his exhibit of the photographs in New Yok, NY last year. In light of this information, I do not think this work needs any modifications.