HOUSTON — Dozens of private cell phone pictures and texts have ended up in a new photo book. The people who posed for the photos and sent the texts probably have no idea they've been made public.
New York artist Kyle M.F. Williams said he recently paid $80for 44 Razr phones on eBay. He initially planned to create a sculpture with the phones, but that didn’t’ work out.
Williams then turned the phones on and browsed through them, finding nude photos, sexually-charged texts and even pictures of drugs.
The artist turned them into a book that is now selling on amazon.com.
"This is just a little documentation," Williams said. "Nothing in the book is censored or blurred. The numbers are there, the names are there."
Others on the street are not so sure how they would feel if they saw themselves in a book.
"It would be a little shocking," one woman said.
Williams said the phones came from a repair center in Sugar Land, which may not have known what was left in their memory.
Though just a few dozen books have been sold, some observers are wondering if Williams could be sued.
Attorney Travis Crabtree said that republishing the pictures is not necessarily illegal.
"It’s always going to be a gray issue as to what’s a commercial purpose, like trying to sell a lot of books versus, ‘I’m making art and trying to make an artistic statement through the slice of life in these pictures,’" Crabtree said.
Williams said he would consider removing any images if he heard a complaint from someone involved.
Until then, he is simply allowing them to speak for themselves.