Max Cavallari was using his phone to navigate around a town in his home country of Italy when he accidentally walked straight into a metal pole. The photographer and art director was so absorbed in his phone that he hadn't noticed the hazards around him. "I was so focused on this little shining screen that I couldn’t see the reality that surrounds me," Cavallari tells BuzzFeed.
Cavallari started to notice all the people around him who were also absorbed in their devices and oblivious to the world around them. His photo project "Loneliness" was born; a collection of stark photos of urban scenes in which the residents are creepily sucked into their own phones and separated from their surroundings.
In his artist statement Cavallari says, “The excessive use of this technology has led us to an addiction to these tools that have long since replaced our ‘downtime’," adding that mobile technology means we are witnessing an “erosion” of our offline lives in favour of our online existence. He asks: “To what extent are we willing to give up physical identity?”
“Smartphones, tablets, and technological tools allow us to see the wonders on the other side of the world and at the same time make us lose those moments that happen around us,” Cavallari tells BuzzFeed. “They give us the ability to live multiple experiences,” he says; our online experiences amount to a “parallel dimension” and “sometimes we take refuge in it if ‘real life’ proves tedious.”
“I’m trying to explain how we can be isolated using these ‘social tools’. Yes, smartphones delete all the distances between us and people far from us, but they’re also deleting the social relationships between [us and] people to the left of us.
"When was the last time that you crossed eyes with a pretty girl/guy? Now it’s really hard…unless you send your selfie to her or his phone.” – Max Cavallari.