You made some excellent points and I agree completely. Charles Phillips, whom I have mentioned here before, has indicated to me that the results that he has had with galleries have been disappointing at best. Perhaps early on he dealt with the mercenary types who have a very limited view of things.
He has, since that time, developed his own base of collectors and directly markets his own work. The problem, that I see, is the time constraints on his output. To be able to photograph, print, and market can be daunting at times.
I think that a photographer must first and foremost be true to his or her own vision. Secondly a decision must be made as to how one wants to spend their time. Then to follow that decision through with action.
Along the lines of how one wants to spend their time, I have had the good fortune to have met and dealt with the co-founder of Pizza Hut Corp. He at that time had two other restaurants each of which represented an investment of 1.5 million. I was surprised to learn that his time commitment to that investment was 8 hours per month. I was amazed because were it I, every waking hour would have been devoted to the success of that investment. He explained that his only saleable commodity was time and how he chose to invest it was the only success that he could control.