No Preservatives: Conversations about Conservation

No Preservatives | Richard McCoy’s Top 10 iPhone Images

In 2010 I took more than 3,300 pictures and videos with my iPhone.

No matter where I am, I have the thing with me; it’s terribly useful, occasionally entertaining, and mildly addictive (a friend recently called smart phones the new cigarettes). While I use mine to keep up with e-mail & messages, stay organized, connect with social media, play games, and to find a good vegetarian restaurant when traveling, the function I use the most has to be the camera. I have the 3Gs model, which has a decent, 3 mega-pixel camera (sadly, Santa forgot to bring me an iPhone 4).  I love the meta data that it includes in each image, especially the geographic information.

Using a smart phone like this makes me think that it’s just a matter of time until we have a device that conservators can use in their work that is not only highly portable, but takes archive-quality images and allows for the easy input of big chunks of text, or better yet voice-transcribed text, and does it with precise geo location! I can dream, right?

In the meantime here are my top 10 art-related images taken from my iPhone in 2010, listed in chronological order. You can see them mapped on my Flickr account here.

Upper Manhattan from the Cab of an Semi Truck

#1 January 5th, New York City.  I’m riding down 5th avenue around lunchtime after driving overnight from the IMA to return an artwork from the exhibition Sacred Spain.  Sure, courier trips sound great but riding shotty for that long really isn’t that much fun; and, despite my efforts, I’m yet to convince a truck driver to let me drive for a while.

Cups of Dried Acrylic Paint from 4th Graders

#2 March 12th, Indianapolis. My wife, Tracey, is an art teacher to kindergarten through 4th grade at The Orchard School.  Last year she started a project with the 4th graders to paint endangered animals on ceiling tiles in the hallways.  Instead of throwing away the cups of acrylic paint they used, she glued them to the wall in her class room. This was my desktop image for a long time.

Ben Valentine

#3 April 2nd, Indianapolis. This is Ben Valentine standing inside his rented Contemporary Art Truck that he parked outside of Dean Johnson Gallery for a mobile & short-lived exhibition of photographs. Ben interned with me this year, helping to create and maintain the Tara Donovan: Untitled exhibition (read a blog post about his work here). He’s since moved to NYC where he works as a studio assistant for Tara and occasionally contributes to C-Monster.

Libeskind's Addition to the Denver Art Museum

#4 April 14th, Denver. After participating in the workshop Wikimedia@MW2010, where I talked about Wikiproject Public Art, I walked all around the city and of course snapped a photo of the Daniel Libeskind addition to the Denver Art Museum.

Dunn & Runge Row out to Indianapolis Island for the First Time.

#5 April 23, Indianapolis. The opening of 100 Acres was a pretty big deal around the IMA. This is Dunn & Runge rowing out to their summer-time home, Andrea Zittel’s Indianapolis Island, on the cold and rainy spring morning I gave them the keys. If you look closely, you can see Jessica leaning back and smiling at Mike.

Nolan and Maeve Review Jeppe Hein's "Distance."

#6 May 8th, Indianapolis. Who didn’t love Jeppe Hein’s Distance? The installation  consisted of over 1,000 feet of roller-coaster that snaked through 4 different rooms. Two of my kiddos helped me review it on the IMA’s Blog (my third, Oley, was at home taking a nap).

Looking Over Richard Meier's Addition to the High Museum.

#7 May 28th, Atlanta. When I was helping to install the exhibition European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century, I went up on the roof of the Richard Meier expansion of the High Museum of Art to see all of those crazy skylight covers.

Storage at the Mathers Musuem

#8 September 10th, Bloomington. This is my favorite image of the year. It captures an experience that is on my short list of most amazing experiences in museum storage. Maybe it’s because this year I heard Fred Wilson speak three times about his much-discussed project for the Indianapolis Cultural TrailE Pluribus Unum, but when I turned the corner to see all of these plaster casts of human heads in the basement of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures staring back at me I was speechless. I’d love to see the whole thing moved up into the gallery just like it is.

Looking up at Euro Saarinen's "War Memorial Center"

#9 September 30th, Milwaukee. Sure, I took lots of photos of Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion when I was at the Milwaukee Art Museum helping to install (again) the exhibtion European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century, but Euro Saarinen’s War Memorial Center still captivates. During a coffee break my friend, and freelance exhibit designer, Mike Mikulay, gave me a tour of the building and showewd me the offices of the Chipstone Foundation. I sat in a Saarinen Womb Chair and pretended to play Mike’s yukalaylee while looking out onto Lake Michigan. Without a doubt, this was the best coffee break of the year.

I-65 Southbound

#10 November 20th, Southern Indiana.  Early in the morning I left with my family on a road trip to Florida for Thanksgiving.  I drove through this fog for about an hour, and kept thinking abut James Turrell’s installations as the trees emerged.

If you make a list of your top 10, put a link in the comments and be sure to tell me how many total images you took on your phone last year.


  1. This is a nice post richard, maybe this year you will make it into the top ten. And if you could continue to link to me from art:21 that would be fantastic.

    Reply

  2. Becky Foster says:

    I have taken approx. 3000 pictures on my Samsung camera phone during 2010 and have hopes of taking many more in 2011.
    Please visit my facebook album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2058752&id=1238899341&l=3d580b0c18
    all pictures were taken AND edited on my phone.
    Visit my profile on facebook at facebook.com/BeckFost
    to view all my pictures. Thanks, and have a great day!

    Reply

  3. LAJL says:

    I’ve only had my iPhone since August, so my total is much fewer: 716. Still way to hard to select only 10 images. Love your #2 & #10!

    Reply

    Richard McCoy Reply:

    Thanks for your replay, LAJL!

    Reply

  4. Richard McCoy says:

    Thanks for the link to our Facebook album! Lot’s of great photos there! tough to bring it down to 10 … best, Richard.

    Reply

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