Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The Impact Of A Print
Through her gallery, Elizabeth Carmel uses photography to connect people with the natural world
So how's the gallery doing? This is another open-ended question I commonly get from visitors to our galleries in Truckee and Calistoga, California. My husband Olof Carmel and I started our photography business doing art shows over 10 years ago, and opened our first gallery in our hometown of Truckee in 2006. We converted the downstairs of an old historic house that we had acquired near Truckee's historic downtown. Thanks to the construction skills of Olof, we were able to upgrade the old house to a commercial space that complied with all the local building and zoning laws. We put up our Carmel Gallery sign out front shortly after Christmas 2006 and waited for our customers. Since we were known in the community through the various art shows and the local arts center, we had a following of people who supported our new gallery and helped us spread the word.
As self-employed landscape photographers, we rely on our ability to see and capture images that people enjoy and connect with on an emotional level. Ultimately, we're in the business of making people happy by bringing the beauty of nature into their homes and offices. As gallery owners, we have the unending responsibilities of day-to-day retail management, from handling payroll to marketing to making sure the windows are clean. Since we do our own printing, framing and digital image development, we have to make sure we're up on the latest in framing, printing and camera and computer technology so we can produce a final product that we're proud of. Only by the support of a great team of people—we now have six employees—can we make our galleries operate successfully. Olof and I have moved from a small operation where we were the ones manning the store to a larger enterprise that supports our employees and has two locations. Needless to say, there's never a dull moment and rarely a break from the demands of running a business. We love being able to share our work as artists with our network of collectors and gallery visitors. It's incredibly fulfilling to hear people express gratitude to us for our work and for our galleries that are open to the public. This positive feedback from others is what keeps us going on the 14-plus-hour days that it takes to run a photography gallery business.
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