Exactly Donald, you can go the route of Michael A Smith and market your own work, but who wants to be a salesman on top of all the other stuff? I don't have the patience nor the "art" speak to sell art. Every-time I read and article in View Camera by John Paul Caponigro I think, jeeez...this looks like english but I sure as heck don't understand a word of it!

A good gallery with very interesting articles is the Afterimage Gallery in Dallas. Go to their web site and read about submitting work to their gallery as well as their "dealer opinion".

IMO if a gallery is trying to force me to do something I am not willing to do, then the relationship wont work.

As photographers we loose sight of the fact that galleries are there to make money. WIth that in mind one should be willing to become a "partner" but there is no reason why both the photographer and the gallery cannot profit from this relation.

The thing about galleries is that it is a cottage industry and if for some reason you piss one of them off, then the word gets around. I found this out in a funny way, my last trip to Houston I went to the John Cleary gallery and ask him if he had prints by MAS. He did not and he told me he would rather not handle his work because of the marketing done by MAS, bottom line was that he could not profit from his prints since he could not "trade" them, I guess he meant with other galleries. The entire explanation was rather strange and did not make sense to me, but I got the feeling that if you market your own work and bypass the "accepted" route, then galleries sort of blacklisted you and refused to handle your work.

I gotta tell you, anybody who wants to become a fine arts photographer, color or B&W and has not researched how the marketing and industry works is in for a rude awakening. Photography as a means to make a living should be approached like any other business with a business plan, to think "ah well I got talent I will just photograph and make the gallery rounds" is a recipe for disaster, which might have been what happened with your friend Charles.