Photographer Jeff Mermelstein has been secretly snapping shots of texts in New York on his own iPhone. He’s compiled the pictures in his new book titled “#nyc”.
“I’m not even sure if it’s a photography book. In a way, I don’t care. That’s very exciting to me,” said Mermelstein.
You can look through the various shots of texts below:
Mermelstein has collected more than 1,200 photos of texts since beginning the project in 2018. For “#nyc”, it features over 150 of them, and printed on blue paper that mimics the backlit glow of a screen.
Although it’s free to view in his book, Mermelstein’s project does bring up a few concerns—mainly if we should be looking at these photographs. The texters may be in the public domain, but is the content of their screens is harder to justify.
“It was new turf for me,” says Mermelstein. “And it was a turf that I needed to address and be able to work in.”
To avoid trouble as much as possible, he cropped out things like faces, surnames and nothing else that might suggest, even by implication, a person’s identity. But whether or not it is perfectly legal is still up to judgement.