It’s a common sight around the UK to see people staring at their phones as they walk along the street, narrowly avoiding potential collisions.
Now, Ritzo ten Cate’s street photography project is capturing people on their phones with the aim of highlighting society’s smartphone addiction.
The photographer, based Groningen, Netherlands, recently brought his ‘Caught in the App’ street photography series to the crowded business districts and shopping areas of London.
He told Amateur Photographer: “We’re aware of the black sides of alcohol, smoking and hard drugs. And we haven’t reached this point in smartphone addiction.”
“With my series I’m holding up a mirror to let people discover themselves what they think of this behaviour and what they want to do about it,” he added.
His project is full of photographs showing surprised people looking up from their phones to discover they’ve been snapped.
However, Cate said he always tells people that he’s photographed them and talks to them about his project afterwards.
He added that the project has led to some great interactions with his subjects, with the best so far being from this image above.
“She really got scared. We talked, she immediately understood my series, admitted her addiction and explained what she was doing at that very moment: she’s a social media manager and her job is to distract other people,” he explained.
So does he have any street photography advice? “Just go and be nice and don’t steal any pictures. Be present, make contact and receive your presents,” Cate told me.
“And keep on playing and adjusting your process. Play together with other photographers. It’s inspiring and educative.”
The photographer, who takes his images with a Nikon D300S, a Nikon D850 and usually a 35mm f/1.4 or 2.0 lens, added that he hopes to expand his project further afield to Tokyo and New York.
He said: “My dream is to visit many metropoles to give a full awareness treatment: shooting a series, giving a street photography workshop and giving a public lecture on smartphone addiction and its healthy use.”
Check out Cate’s website for more photographs and to see what he’s up to next.