In the work titled The Glossies (1980), an affinity for photography manifested itself before McCollum actually began to use photography as a medium. The Glossies are drawings, rectangular forms applied with blank ink and watercolors, which fill up the sheets parallel to the edges except for a small margin. Finally, the whole paper is covered with an adhesive plastic laminate, which gives it the shiny surface of a photograph. The drawing as original artistic expression is employed as a sign for photography.
Allan McCollum neither superimposes the conditions of industrial production as artistic practice nor attempts to raise them, in a heroic gesture, to the status of high art. The starting point of his art generally surrounds the idea of a sign. He frames the sign inside of realm of the significant characteristics of the total quantity of all pictures in general. These considerations are the result of an inconsistency of art production in relation to culture at large and the function it fulfills. This function is determined by the fact that in the economic system of a consumer society, the artwork becomes a commodity.