How Personal…

…is too personal?

On Monday evening I went to the meeting of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild — Photography Section. There were about two dozen people in attendance, some whose names I knew of, but mostly new faces and names for me.

One of the members has been a professional photographer for forty years, and is currently involved in a new gallery venture in North St. Louis. After the meeting, I asked him what they were looking to show in the gallery, and he took a quick peruse of what I had, and basically said they were looking for images that were sellable, not personal.

So I walked away pondering: “Sellable vs Personal.”

And I thought about my work, which, on Flickr, covers an array of subjects, from photo-journalism (the fire sequence) to landscapes (Forest Park) to florals (Ikebana at the Japanese Festival). My portraits are portraits and not for sale. But how personal is personal? The image above was taken at lunchtime with my cell phone, then edited to black and white and cropped. It’s clearly a study in light, shadow and line, but it’s also remarkably intimate. Would it be too personal to place in a gallery with a $100 price tag on it?

I dunno.

I’m still pondering.


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