Got some sad, well sad to me, news yesterday. After thirteen years, the Verve Gallery of photography in Santa Fe is closing its doors. I am seriously going to miss that place. It was a sort of home away from home for me, as I loved to stop in every time I was in Santa Fe to check out the work they were showcasing. It’s where I first met Nevada Weir and got to speak with her about her work and it’s the gallery in Santa Fe where Elizabeth Opalenik showcased her wonderful mordancage prints. Seriously going to miss this place. Lots of work there, lots of artists represented. They did a lot for photography, to advance the medium and they will be sorely missed.
Now, I’m not stupid (well, not entirely.) I know that galleries are having a hard go of it these days. In fact, for most photographers, a gallery is not even needed anymore. It’s all become very “just make a website and put your stuff on social media” to sell. Frankly, I’m not sure the new model works 100% of the time. I mean, sure it does allow access to photographers around the globe and there is a lot more work and more varied work that can get seen, but there is a high, very high, signal to noise ratio. Frankly put, there’s a lot of junk out there too and it’s hard for a discerning buyer or art patron to separate the noise and the junk from the good stuff.
There’s something to be said for the gallery experience too, as it forces the artists to sort of “raise the bar” in a way. Heck, I’ll come right out and say it. If I’m shooting for what I think is going to be a gallery show, I’m going to put a lot more time, effort, and energy into my composition while in the field than it I’m just outside flapping around. Art sometimes just works that way. Having a finished product in mind makes us work harder and gives us a goal. Sadly, the goal of making it into Verve is no longer. I’m seriously going to miss that place.
There are other galleries in Santa Fe. Why, there’s Monroe and also Photo Eye, plus the Adam Smith bunch, so it’s not like Santa Fe is now completely void of photography galleries. But, there was something about Verve. It was sort of the contemporary home for photography there. It was the fine art hovel that we had all grown to love. It was just a place the filled a niche and sadly it’s now gone.
Long live the spirit of Verve, where ever it might show up next.
Until next time…
PS This one an iPhone image, done with a grunge filter, that I had shot in Santa Fe outside of Verve. Heck, I’m even going to miss the sign. Oh, sad times indeed.