Photographs that reveal China's obsession with smartphones as they sunbathe on ‘Silicon Beach’

Smartphones have changed the way we interact, with our friends and the world around us. But has this tool, built specifically to advance our communication, eroded the fundamental foundations of human connection?

It's something award-winning photographer Oleg Tolstoy ponders with his latest series, Silicon Beach. Inspired by the fact that most iPhones are assembled in Shenzhen, China’s own Silicon Valley, Oleg travelled to the area's Dameshina Beach, one of the busiest stretches of sand in the world where locals love to gather on sunny days.

His revealing images uncover the complex relationship we have with technology, each other, our connection with space and the experiences we have within it.

As we gawp at the subjects, squinting to avoid the glare of the sun and the sea on their screens, what are we to think? Is this experience enhancement or detraction from the moment? Could this be a startling glimpse into the future of leisure as we know it?

Oleg’s images dare us to question our own judgment of such a culture. He says: "If other people in other places choose only to see and experience their free time in ways which make them feel comfortable, who are we to say they should do otherwise?"