Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Apple cofounder Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world on January 9, 2007. Now, twelve years later, the average American spends more than two hours a day on a smartphone. It’s estimated that by 2020, around 70 percent of the world’s population — more than 5 billion people — will be using one.
After a few failed attempts to have conversations with friends who could not keep their eyes off their screens for more than ten minutes, I began taking photographs of people lost inside their phones. They weren’t hard to find, whether I was in New York City or Amsterdam, Dublin or New Delhi. Wherever I traveled, the devices were a consistent presence, a tool people use in nearly every aspect of their lives. I felt as if I was witnessing a global addiction.
— Gianpaolo La Paglia
© Gianpaolo La Paglia
Gianpaolo La Paglia
I was touched by Gianpaolo La Paglia’s sad-but-true photo essay of people looking at their cell phones [“Our Own Devices,” March 2019]. In 2013 I was in Mapleton, Oregon, for a Fourth of July campout — a multifamily, multigenerational affair. Most of the younger campers headed to a fire pit by the river. I wandered that way and, as I came around the corner, saw a dozen or so teens sitting around a dead fire staring at their phones. When I asked my son what he was doing, he said, “Texting Dena.” She was sitting right there.