I was wondering if there is a way to use the camera in an old cell phone to take pictures.

I have some old cell phones with cameras on them and I was wondering if anyone has done some work with removing the cameras and making them into a working camera perhaps connected directly to a computer via usb

It might be cheaper and easier to research and buy an easily hackable webcam depending on your purpose because it would take a lot of time and effort and probably money to accomplish what you've suggested.