If I were to focus my street photography exclusively on people looking down at their phones, I bet that as a collection, the number of photos in any place, circumstance and time of day, irregardless of gender, race, religion, etc etc – would be something to give pause.

I did not have a cell phone till about 4 years ago. The reason I acquired one was so that our family could communicate across the city, mainly about our children and their schedules at school, picking them up – all the stuff you want/need to know about coordination when you have children.

While I love being able to use it for art (and some games), and it does come in handy for family logistics coordination, and locating people when you are getting together outside the home, or for any urgent communication purpose – really for everything else, it’s nothing I can’t do on my desktop when I’m at home. I hate the idea of getting attached to it, the false sense of its importance that results in anxiety (for me anyway), the fact that like on TV – there really isn’t that much “on” that you need to have it around at all hours. Yet everywhere I go, people might as well have it glued to their hands and tied to their foreheads, and that’s sort of like watching people addicted to drugs get high – depressing.

I’ve been trying to wean myself ever more from this obsession with electronic connection as time goes on. My strong negative feelings about social networks is documented on this site. Yesterday I read this article, which I liked – though I’m not certain about sending more things into email boxes, just because I have trouble dealing with the influx of emails to my own (from other art/literature sites I subscribe to, vendors whose products I like to keep abreast about, and keeping spam out). Ultimately I prefer conversation – whether that’s in person, by phone, by text, or by email – to keep in touch with people. What was ever wrong with those methods?

As for other uses of technology, such as research, I mean really – I’m not interested in being a walking encyclopedia, and especially not when I’m with other people. What kind of a person can you be if you can’t put those damn things down and have a conversation, you’re unable to truly listen and communicate with the person in front of you? What kind of person can you be if you can’t be alone and doing nothing except observing, taking in what is going on around you, thinking and feeling? I think these companies have us by the throat, and we are at fault for having so little self-control that we give in to the “necessity” of all this besides the point stuff. Ok, and an opinion I agree with here.

I’m not going for this con. I keep my ringer OFF on my cell phone unless I am expecting a call. I don’t look at the internet when I am traveling. I don’t carry my cell phone around with me at all times. Maybe I should take all apps off that are not for immediate communication purposes (e.g. browsers, email – can you even do that?) and are not for art, or at least put them on a far away “page” on my cell phone so I don’t look at them unless I’m supposed to, because they might contain something “important.” Hmmm.

Either way, I am going to get my old peace of mind back, and I don’t care if no one else follows.

Every Thursday