Ouch that hurts! Opening De Volkskrant this morning touched me more than usual. The V section reported on ‘Kahmann’s dark room’. I’d heard it rumbling in that corner for a while, but now read what was really going on. Sorry. So sorry. I feel confusion, anger and regret at the same time.
Confusion because I honestly do not understand why someone with a love for photography and art in general would treat their own artists and clients in this way. Anger because this behavior might have its effect on the entire industry while it doesn’t deserve that. But I also feel regret. Regret that it was apparently necessary for this particular gallery to work this way, while at the same time this gallery also meant a lot of good for Dutch photography. It has put Dutch photography on the map, takes initiatives to organize photography specialized art fairs, knows how to bring the latest photography talent to the surface…. Not to justify, but I am just wondering WHY?
Trust is the basis on which we artists can and want to work. Still, I want to break a lance for the gallery world. Thanks to them, we artists can participate in art fairs all over the world, exhibit in galleries, get promoted and come into contact with collectors and other art lovers worldwide. Of course we cannot live from air alone. In order to be able to be a professional artist, art does come with a price tag. But not in a twilight zone, my prices are always openly communicated on my website.
In the beginning of my photography career I once had a less pleasant experience with a gallery that gave me the feeling of being exploited. I took my loss, but from that encounter I learned that -for me- it is important that my gallery is content driven over money driven. That the gallery that suits me best is not only interested in price levels or production rates, but above all in the story behind the art(ist) and the love for that. I am glad I found a gallery that fits seamlessly with those ideas. Working with her for years now has only confirmed that.
I have been doubting wether to write this blog or not. But it felt better to open up in stead of not reacting at all. I feel sorry for the artists involved, the art buyers, the branche, the employees and -peculiar or not- also for Kahmann himself. I admired him a lot and hope with all my heart that this was a temporary misstep on an impassable path and that he quickly finds the right way again to do good for our beautiful Dutch photography.
Response to this article in De Volkskrant of today