Posted by: Paul Sheringhams blog: a place of running dreams come true | July 15, 2015

Agora Gallery

In June I received a comment from the Agora gallery.

I looked at the site and the services they offer. The starting price to be represented and have your works exhibited is $3800. I thought, no, this is not for me, I could buy a new camera and several lenses for that amount.

It seems that this email or blog comment is sent to just about every blog or photographer they can reach.  I’m not sure they are even assessing the quality of the photos. I suspect they leave comments and send emails to hundreds maybe thousands of photographers and artists around the world. I wonder how many?

I love photography, and I keep trying to learn and improve, but I realise I am light years away from being considered – a professional. There are many better photographers that take photos around Coffs. I search for Coffs Harbour on 500px and my photos don’t even make the first page. My photography is more about the joy I get being out in nature, it is about the experience. It isn’t about how much money might that photo be worth.

For me the biggest buzz I get is that someone, anyone likes one of my photos. I share the joy I felt taking them, I communicate something creative.

I’ve seen some reviews suggesting that it is a vanity gallery, you pay to have your work exhibited, and for them to represent you. They do provide services they offer. But I’d have to agree it is like vanity publishing, and there is nothing wrong with that if you are willing to pay to be in print. I did that with one of my short stories once, well, I didn’t pay, but the editor didn’t pay me a cent.

I saw a photographer on 500px who was looking for donations from other photographers to help raise the $3800! I felt like saying I got that email/comment too, nearly every one has, do you really want to spend all that money, is it worth it?

I wasn’t going to write about this, just let the comment from that Gallery go through to the keeper, but I have been thinking a lot about it.

It makes me a little uncomfortable that so many things in this world are about business and how much money you can make, even people’s ill health and pain. When I was suffering from knee pain and panic disorder and blogged about that, I’d get people posting on my blog, and linking to my blog, trying to advertise miracle cures to these ailments.

I gave advice freely, and tried to give hope, by showing through my own success in beating those conditions that getting better was possible.


  1. I’m with you … I wouldn’t even consider paying that. I’m used to galleries getting their 40-50% commissions (used to it, I may not ‘like’ it) But, at least its up front, its only if the work Sells! Dislike people squeezing money out of others who can least afford it.

  2. I am acutely aware of how little connections there is between making money and actual talent. You are a professional in my opinion.

    What makes a professional? Depends how you view things. I am a highly skilled and talented artist. I sold my art in galleries for many years. Then I chose to leave the business. Does that now make me an amateur? I say I am still a professional. How much I sell, or if I sell my work at all, has nothing to do with it. Now that I make photographs I haven’t sold much. I consider myself a professional because of the quality of the work I do and how well I know my equipment and software.

  3. Totally agree with you, Paul…

  4. Yes, Debi, I think that a negotiated commission is fair if the work sells. It’s the large fee, and the unsolicited comments and emails that concerns me about this.

    Defining a professional is difficult, Sherry. Of course you are a professional with criteria based on skill and talent and having sold works in galleries. Learning is also part of the enjoyment of photography I think.

    Perhaps I was alluding to the commercial side of the term. I was reading some comments from other “pro” photographers about one of Peter Lik’s images, which sold for millions. They seemed a bit jealous and didn’t think it was worth it.

    I thought that was a commercial discussion and getting away from what I think most of us take photos or create art for, and that is the joy of creating something, and being able to communicate that with other people.

    Glad you agree, Sue

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