In the summer of 2016 masses of people started playing Pokemon Go. I started playing myself and.. got lost in my own hometown, throwing Pokeballs at Pidgeots, Raticates and Pikachus. I went back home, still being in shock of me getting lost. I felt like a zombie being total unaware of my surroundings and my own presence. I decided to dive into it and started taking pictures of players. After a few rounds on the streets I moved on to taking street photographs of smartphone zombies - in general. The series called Caught in the App emerged. This series was shot in Groningen, the Netherlands. But I already did a first round in London and I’m inviting you to invite me your hometown to (co-)create a series over there. I really would like to team up with local street photography / Instagram heroes and make the world aware of this worrying side of smartphone use. Will you join bored pandas me in #CaughtintheApp? Yes! Yes! Yes! Of course you will. Gotta Catch Em All!
People nowadays live several lives in one. One in the real world, on the streets, at tables, in bed. And many online. Smartphones make it easy to travel permanently between these worlds. To warp. This permanent traveling between world worries me. It causes traffic accidents. It distracts us. It makes us dismindful, which makes us feel tired. It disconnects us. And maybe the most worrying: it desocializes us (according to research of MIT-professor Sherry Turkle) and we should even worry about attachment problems facing our children and long term consequences involved. And: suicide! San Diego State's prof Jean Twenge proved direct correlations between screens / likes and depression and suicide!
With my long term street photography series #CaughtintheApp I am welcoming back people to their first - non virtual - life, reconnecting their souls to their bodies. I'm using my 35mm lens (Nikon D300s) to give the catching a tinge of prey and predator play. The catching works easy: I choose my 'hot zone', make it my place and I just wait for people to get caught in the app. Most of the pictures were taken from a distance of less than three meters between me and the subject.
After taking the picture I thank the people for sharing this moment with me and I ask them what they were using their phone for. Most of them thank me in return for pointing them at this awkward addictive habit and admit that they were just scrolling Whatsapp, Instagram, Tinder or one or another news site. Nothing urgent usually.
The series is still in progress. My goal is to expand my series to 100 pieces (or even more) and move to different subseries. People stepping out of elevators. Board rooms. Other cities. Catching people on bikes, in cars. Et cetera. Will you join me?
More info: Instagram