For LOVE or the MONEY

My Articles and Babble


Gallery size: 12 square meters.
Rent: $130,000 per year. Yes that right I didn’t accidentally put on an extra “0”
Opening times: 7 days a week, shopping center trading hours.
Hours a week I worked: Approx 100

On July the 2nd 2007 I threw my hat into the ring and gave this photography gig my full time attention with the opening of a temporary gallery in a major shopping center in Sydney. As I look back now on my journey and what I was thinking when I started, I laugh as I honestly had no idea of the roller coaster ride I had started myself on.Warringah Mall Display

I operated for 6 months, but my six months covered Christmas and the rents go up in this time from November to the end of December so I paid close to $75,000 in rent. Which is crazy when you look back on it. What I paid in rent isn’t even the gross income of my past full time job.

99% of all the people who came and looked at my work and commented were so positive and appreciative of the time and effort that goes into putting a collection like I have together. Some would walk past and say, “Are you selling Ken Duncan’s work” and I would say, “No it is mine, but thankyou” People would also come up and shake your hand when they find out your the photographer.

My most common question was if my work was shot digitally. It was quite funny on several occasions, I had interested people come up and ask what I shoot with and when I said I use a 617 on medium format slide film their reply was “What mega pixel is that”…. you got to love the digital age.

What I loved most about my experience is watching the excitement and joy someone had when they selected one of my photo’s as their birthday or Christmas gift and say I want this one big thanks. When you sell your work on line you dont get to see this side of selling and it is a real pleasure.

Selling your work to the customer is a lot harder than I first thought. My sales were impacted with things like interest rate rises, public holidays, hot sunny days and also the delayed election announcement. On public holidays I thought my sales would go up, but people hit the beach instead of shopping. Public holidays accounted for my worst days in the center. Rainy overcast days are the best.

It is hard to pack 6 months worth of experience into a short blog entry and also there is a lot of information and experience you obtain from doing such a venture that is valuable and sensitive information that technically you paid for in rent and your own time that you want to keep for your self. Overall I am glad I took the risk and without the support and encouragement of friends and family it would have been almost un sustainable.

In the end I would have to say you do it for the love of photography and not the money. As the money goes in rent and you are left with an experience you will never forget.

Happy Shooting


7 thoughts on “For LOVE or the MONEY

  1. Matt

    Congratulations on taking that major step by opening up your Gallery! It is a step that many talented photographers only dream of doing, but only a few actually do!

    It just goes to show that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it!

    I wish you all the very best Matt!

    Kind Regards,

    Erwin Groen

  2. well said Matt, it isn’t easy running a gallery and it is very important to have a location that is right for your product. I say good on you for having a go and to all other photographers out there, and there is a lot of them, nothing in this world is easy, if it is, it is probably not worth the trouble. Go hard or go home I say. Matt enjoy your new freedom, I wish I could have some more!!

  3. Matt,

    You could make some money from the experience by writing a book about how to open a gallery in the spare 68 hours you have left in the week. That could bring you in some extra cash.

  4. Thanks guys, I have a new appreciation now for people who have a gallery and the work that goes into one. Looking forward now to a break and shooting my ass off over the coming months to make up for the last six months.

  5. Pingback: WANTED – Hasselblad 6×6 « Matt Lauder Landscape Photography

  6. Matt, I dont normally respond to sites on the computer but I had to make an exception for you. I applaud you for acting rather than just thinking and just totally enjoying the ride and experiences on the way. Many men like my partner will probably leave this earth with regrets and feelings of “if only”.
    You only live once and life is certainly not a rehersal. Your pictures are wonderful and your life experiences are priceless.

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