Photo Exhibition Features Self-Portraits Found on Apple Store Devices

Remember the hoopla last year after artist/programmer Kyle McDonald installed an app on Apple store computers to secretly snap portraits of customers? Outcries of “invasion of privacy” sprang up everywhere, and Apple got the Secret Service involved in putting an end to it. Well, photographer Irby Pace has done something similar, but instead of secretly capturing images, Pace simply visits Apple Stores and harvests self-portraits “abandoned” on the devices. Pace collected over 1,000 images in 2010 by emailing and texting them to himself, and is currently displaying them in a gallery exhibition titled “Unintended Consequences”.

Unintended Consequences (via Wired)

  • Ted

    That exhibit is one huge collection of copyright infringement under US law. Copyright belongs to the people who took the photos, not to Pace, who “stole”them.

  • Matt

    duck face!!

  • Berneck

    Not to be extreme, but the few I saw were mostly of underaged kids. This guy clearly isn’t thinking…

  • twoandaquarter

    Haha I know this guy, I haven’t talked to him in a while… I should call him.

  • Kelly Bracha

    How is this legal? Literally nothing was created by the guy. I think it’s ridiculous that he can “exhibit” these..

  • Anonymous

    Let us know what he says, how do you know him?

  • Laurz

    Dearest Teddy,
    The fact that we live in a digital world prompts a reinterpretation of copyright laws. If I post a picture online, give it a tag, and someone chooses to use it in any form of work, I can’t expect to win a copyright lawsuit against them, because I chose to let my image be viewed and/or copied in a public place- just as the pictures in this exhibit were. i.e. If someone left a loaf of bread in the apple store, and I decided to take it, are the police going to arrest me for stealing? No, probably not. Because that person freely left the bread there, just as these people freely left their pictures on a computer in an apple store. If you don’t want those pictures used, erase them, and then you won’t have to worry about where they end up.

  • Marc

    Interesting? Maybe.  Worth a gellery exhibition? Nope.

  • Henryk

     I think my sarcasm detector isn’t working correctly because it did not flag your post. On the off-chance you really are serious:

    WTF? Images online are bound by the same copyright law as everywhere else. Of course you do have a case against anybody using any of your images without your permission. (Note that there is the orthogonal issue as to what permissions you might have given whom by “post[ing] a picture online”, since there is no ‘online’ per se and you’re most likely talking about a third-party service of some sort whose terms of service you may have accepted, even implictly, by posting.)

    As to the bread: I don’t know about U.S. law, but at least in Germany that would most likely be “Fundunterschlagung”, a felony. If you found something you’re supposed to get it back to the owner or to the relevant authority. It may already be a felony to not notify the authorities if you found something over 10 EUR of value.

  • Anonymous

    The people who took the photos abandoned them.  Any abandoned property can be claimed by anyone.  In this case it is what is knows as common law abandonment.  The picture takers had the same opportunity to retrieve their picture by sending it to another phone, email, whatever, and then delete the picture from the phone; they chose not to.  If someone undeletes a picture from the phone and uses it then a copyright violation would exist. 
    Regardless the whole concept seems a little creepy to me…

  • Bram van Veldhuisen
  • Bill Shirley

    The mere fact of harvesting freely accessible content has artistic merit in and of itself – a comment on the modern age.  If I were doing it, I’d be using a pseudonym and be sure not to profit off of it, because there are clearly legal issues.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    Maybe the legal issues are his the next phase, the performing arts phase of Unintended Consequences.

  • Jules Mattsson

    This is one major copyright infringement…