While on a trip to New York with her best friend in 2009, Carol Mott-Binkley discovered the iPhone, marveling at its ability to navigate between landmarks like Times Square and Central Park.
Shortly after returning to Sacramento, Mott-Binkley got his first iPhone and found a prolific use for it: taking pictures. At the rate some people use their smartphones to text or scroll through social media, Mott-Binkley captures footage. A recent album on her current phone had 66,114 photos when she checked. She estimated that she had taken at least 10 times as many photos over the years.
“I always have it with me,” said Mott-Binkley, a 60-year-old Curtis Park resident. “It’s kind of a great tool for street photography, where I don’t always have a camera with me.”
Mott-Binkley’s use of the iPhone is an example for anyone trying to nurture more creativity in their lives. And it proves that you will have something to show for your efforts. Mott-Binkley’s latest show, “Wallpapers and Vinyl Dreams,” is set to run Feb. 1-25 at the Archival Gallery in East Sacramento.
“I’m kind of like the Forrest Gump of iPhone photography,” Mott-Binkley said. “I had a very charming hobby.”
By day, Mott-Binkley worked 18 years as an executive assistant to Mark Friedman, owner and chairman of Fulcrum Property. Prior to that, Mott-Binkley worked for many years at the corporate headquarters of Tower Records, holding marketing and publicity roles and as an assistant to company president Michael Solomon.
Some of Mott-Binkley’s photos are from streets near Fulcrum Property, scenes as simple as the ground in the city center after a hailstorm. Other times, she will have photos to share after her weekend. “She’s constantly playing with things on her phone and comes in and says, ‘What do you think about this? ‘” said Friedman, who has one of his pieces on display in the office.
The iPhone has also become the norm for Mott-Binkley while traveling, according to Lori Liberty, who took the trip to New York in 2009 with Mott-Binkley and has known her since grade school. “I’ve been on four, five or six girls’ trips with Carol,” Liberty said. “And every 10 feet you stop so she can take a picture. So you sort of get used to it.
Mott-Binkley’s photos have been featured in a variety of local galleries or media outlets over the years. Some of her most prominent venues include the Crocker Art Museum, the KVIE Public Gallery, and the California State Fair Photography Exhibit, where she won ribbons.
But Mott-Binkley doesn’t always see what she does as more than a hobby, not yet deducting the cost of her iPhones from her taxes. She earns a token amount of money by selling low-cost show photos in small batches. Between show costs such as printing and framing, she is happy to break even.
“It took a while to convince her that she was making real art,” said archive gallery owner D. Oldham Neath. “When she started, it was just like, ‘No, it’s just something fun I do.'”
Not that Mott-Binkley seems to care that much.
“It’s funny because a friend of mine said to me, ‘When you retire, you at least have that to lean on,'” Mott-Binkley said. “But it’s like I’m not making any money. But that doesn’t matter to me. I have a lot of fun, which you can’t afford.
What: Mott-Binkley’s “Wallpapers and Vinyl Dreams” exhibit runs Feb. 1-25 at the Archival Gallery Sacramento
Where: 3223 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday
Contact gallery: 916-923-6204
This story was originally published January 24, 2023 6:30 a.m.