iPhone photographer: Sacramento woman opens art exhibit

Carol Mott‑Binkley​​ will have here iPhone photography exhibit “Wallpapers and Vinyl Dreams” on display Feb.  1-25, 2023, at Archival Gallery Sacramento.

Carol Mott‑Binkley​​ will have here iPhone photography exhibit “Wallpapers and Vinyl Dreams” on display Feb. 1-25, 2023, at Archival Gallery Sacramento.

On a trip to New York City with her best friend in 2009, Carol Mott-Binkley discovered the iPhone, marveling at its navigational abilities between landmarks like Times Square and Central Park.

Shortly after returning to Sacramento, Mott-Binkley got her first iPhone and found a prolific use for it: Taking photos. At the rate some people use their smartphone to text or scroll social media, Mott-Binkley captures images. A recent album on her current phone had 66,114 photos when she checked. She estimated she’s 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 life. And it proves that you’ll have something to show for your effort. Mott-Binkley’s latest show, “Wallpapers and Vinyl Dreams” is slated to run Feb. 1-25 at Archival Gallery in East Sacramento.

“I’m kind of like the Forrest Gump of iPhone photography,” Mott-Binkley said. “I’ve had a very charmed hobby.”

By day, Mott-Binkley has worked 18 years as executive assistant to Mark Friedman, owner and chairman of Fulcrum Property. Prior to this, Mott-Binkley worked for many years at Tower Records’ corporate office, serving in marketing and advertising roles and as assistant to company president Michael Solomon.

Some of Mott-Binkley’s photos come from streets near Fulcrum Property, scenes as simple as the ground in the central city after a hailstorm. Other times, she’ll have photos to share after her weekend. “She’s constantly fiddling with things on her phone and coming in and saying, ‘What do you think of this?'” said Friedman, who has one of her pieces displayed in the office.

The iPhone has also become standard for Mott-Binkley during travel, according to Lori Liberty, who made the 2009 trip to New York City with Mott-Binkley and has known her since grade school. “I’ve been on four or five or six girl trips with Carol,” Liberty said. “And every 10 feet you stop so she can take a picture. So you kind of just get used to it.”

Mott-Binkley’s photos have been featured in a variety of local galleries or news outlets over the years. Some of her more prominent venues include the Crocker Art Museum, KVIE’s public gallery, and the California State Fair Photography Exhibition, 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 on her taxes. She earns a nominal amount of money from selling modestly-priced photos from shows in small batches. Between costs for shows such as printing and framing, she’s happy to break even.

“It took a while to convince her that she was making real art,” Archival Gallery owner D. Oldham Neath said. “When she first started out, it was just like, ‘No, it’s just something fun that 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, at least you have that to fall back on,'” Mott-Binkley said. “But it’s like, I’m not making money. But that doesn’t matter to me. I’m having a lot of fun, which you can’t pay for.”

12. tower bridge and sac manhole.jpg
Carol Mott‑Binkley​​ started taking photos and making art after getting her first iPhone around 2009. Courtesy of Carol Mott‑Binkley

More information

What: Mott-Binkley’s “Wallpapers and Vinyl Dreams” exhibit will be on display Feb. 1-25 at Archival Gallery Sacramento

Where: 3223 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento

Hours: 11 am-4 pm Tuesday through Saturday

Gallery contact: 916-923-6204

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