What I learned during Aurélie’s Gallery’s first year

What I learned during Aurélie’s Gallery’s first year

November 9, 2022

Today marks our first year anniversary! I launched Aurélie’s Gallery with just 3 photographers – 3 amazing people who trusted me with their work and decided to support me in this new adventure.

The road had been bumpy with a lot of false starts, delayed launch dates and website bugs. I was banging my head against the wall and thought the day would never come… and then, our website designer sent me a message saying the site was up and running!

I remember the moment clearly: I was out treat-or-tricking with friends’ kids up in Harlem in New York. Not the best moment to deal with work but there you have it – the life of a small business entrepreneur!

After years in advertising and fashion, organizing photo shoots, searching and hiring photographers for ad campaigns, curating photography portfolios and working on a photography magazine I had launched with a friend, I had met many talented photographers. I was looking for something new to do, a new challenge, a new project, a new way to work in photography, and the idea of having a gallery came naturally.

I thought at first of having a physical space, and although having a spot to call my own and model the way I saw fit was enticing, I also knew I would quickly hate having to go to a white cube, waiting for someone to walk in. Besides, the cost of renting a space was prohibitive for the self-funded start-up I was. The next best thing was to go online. (The covid pandemic only reinforced the need to have a virtual gallery, accessible anywhere at any time, free from time and space restrictions.)

Early on a friend of mine told me my job would be both art, commerce AND technology – truer words were never spoken! I learned so much these last 2 years! From SEO to social media, from e-commerce platforms to newsletters, from print on demand to shipping and sale tax… the learning curve before and during this first year has been steep at times and some topics remain quite obtuse despite my best efforts (I’m looking at you, SEO).  Technology constantly changes and evolves so there’s always something new to learn and try, which I enjoy. Work is never boring when you keep on learning new things!

It’s now time to pause and reflect on this first year.

There are plenty of things I would do differently if I did them today. Insight is 20/20 and all that jazz… But I do believe I did the best throughout the process with the information I had at the time. Regrets are a waste of time: learning and moving on is a much better use of my time!

What did I learn during this first year? Here are the Cliff Notes:

  • When starting a business geared toward the general public, don’t underestimate how long it will take said public to notice you. Be ready for the long haul, and don’t get discouraged when you hear only crickets. Keep at it – time takes time.
  • Write a business plan (or better yet, work with a business consultant on one). Putting your ideas on paper will help you clarify your vision. It also makes your business idea feel more concrete and real.
  • Financial projections are important but be prepared for slow growth (or little growth, or even no growth!). Overnight successes don’t happen that often (and organic reach on social media doesn’t happen at all anymore – stop dreaming!). You need to invest in your company for it to exist. Put money aside for it, have a part-time job somewhere else… do what’s needed to give time for your company to find its footing while still paying your bills.
  • Before launching, spend time creating a proper workflow and structuring your company. It’s not when you’re in the thick of it that you have time to work on the legalese of your contracts or figure out how to schedule your social media posts. Set things up before you put your baby out into the world.
Portrait of Aurélie
  • Create as much content in advance as possible: blog posts, newsletters (even if you only have 5 people to send them to), social media posts, website pages, product descriptions, … Have as much of them ready early on so you have a leg up and can schedule ahead of time.
  • Contact everyone you know and invite them to follow you on social, sign up for your newsletter, spread the word, etc… Let’s be real here: your first few sales will come from friends and family, and that’s OK (big shout out to my friends and family!).
Aurélie and photographer Andre Baranowski
Aurélie and photographer Jimmy Katz
Aurélie and photographer Jazzmine Beaulieu
Aurélie and photographer Edwin Jimenez

From the initial 3 photographers we started with, we grew to now 10 online exhibits! Our artists span genres and styles, from landscapes to portraits, from Black and White to color photography. I knew some of the photographers from my previous career, working with them on ad campaigns or on my magazine; others approached me to work together, while some were recommended by friends.

The artists we feature come from different horizons and have very different styles. Yet, one thing remains, I love their work. There’s not one image here I don’t care about.

Stay tuned for more!

If you missed it, read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of how the gallery came to be.

Follow the blog for more of my adventures in entrepreneurship land!

Entrepreneur’s life: Aurélie’s Gallery is 6 month-old!

Entrepreneur’s life: Aurélie’s Gallery is 6 month-old!

May 9, 2022 Today is more or less our sixth-month anniversary. I say “more or less” because we had so many false starts when it came to launching the website, so many delays, bugs and revised timelines, we ended up with the softest of soft launches. When people ask what the best and worst things about launching my online photo gallery are, it’s easy to know the worst part: creating the website has been the most challenging part of the process. I am not a coder, nor particularly fluent in geek-speak, so I’ve felt very lost. Finding myself so dependent on technology (and one I have very little understanding of) has been a huge adjustment. As a friend of mine told me early on, “Your business rests on both art and technology.” I didn’t fully hear her then, but I sure do now!

And now for the fun part of having this gallery: I love being able to share my love of photography! It’s as simple as that.

I’ve always loved photography (maybe because my childhood bedroom was covered in Sarah Moon’s images?). I love its immediacy and intimacy. It’s the most ubiquitous art form, one that speaks to most people. I feel photography has become a “lingua franca,” a universal language by which we all communicate.

I am also happy and honored to champion photographers whose work I love.

Coming from the advertising and fashion photo industry, I don’t recognize the usual barriers the art world sets up. There if you don’t have the right pedigree (read: education and/or connections), your work is devalued (or, at least, not as valued).

For me, what matters is my response to the images. The curation is personal – I love every image I am showing; it is not calculated according to the art world’s rules and expectations.

Lastly, I love the freedom I enjoy. It’s a huge privilege. Freedom to feature who I want, to work from anywhere in the world, to create this new business from scratch – making lots of mistakes along the way, for sure, but loving every second of it.

So, here’s to our first 6 months! I can’t wait to continue to grow and develop Aurélie’s Gallery. See you around!





If you missed it, read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of how the gallery came to be.

Follow the blog for more of my adventures in entrepreneurship land!

Aurélie at work
Meet Photographer Kourosh Sotoodeh

Meet Photographer Kourosh Sotoodeh

Kourosh Sotoodeh had to leave his home country to pursue his photography passion. The road has not always been easy but the journey took him far and is still ongoing!

Originally from Iran, Kourosh Sotoodeh studied Industrial Design and Cinema before focusing on photography. He fell in love with the medium while photographing his friends and family. From there he started experimenting and building his portfolio, although his work was limited by the fundamentalist laws ruling over Iranians’ lives.

Koourosh eventually left his home country when it became clear he would never be able to work as a photographer and express himself as an artist in the Islamic Republic. Although there might not have been laws forbidding fashion photography per se, taking photographs of people (and of people of the opposite sex) falls in a grey area and is left to subjective interpretations.

There have been crackdowns on the Iranian creative class over the years. What is permitted one day is not the next day, the rules are unspoken and ever-changing – an impossible situation for any artist to live and function in!

Female model standing against a wall

Since then Kourosh Sotoodeh has made a name for himself in New York and Los Angeles, where he works on both editorial & commercial assignments for fashion and cosmetic clients.

Being a foreigner in the US myself (I’m originally from Paris), I know firsthand how difficult emigrating can be. You are confronted with a new language, culture, and social code. You’re the new kid on the block, with no support or friends. Everything needs to be built from scratch – it’s no easy feat.

Succeeding then is a testament to your talent and hard work (and just enough luck to make it all work!).

Woman dressed in Indigenous dress, standing on a rock in a desert
Female model wearing a bright red sweater and a bright Dior beret

The images presented here span genres and styles – from hyper-glamourous beauty shots to views of a starry sky. They come from both editorial shoots and personal work. I like the mix it creates.

I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s important for photographers to work on personal projects throughout their careers. If you’re only shooting for jobs (even editorial ones), you’re never free – there are always expectations and requests you need to worry about.

Personal projects allow you to truly express yourself. Which can be daunting for some. It’s equivalent to the fear of the white page for a writer!

I titled Kourosh Sotoodeh’s exhibit “Moments” as the images presented are a mix of past and present works, editorial images and personal projects. Aren’t all photographs moments after all?

Naked female back and buttocks
Portrait of a woman, topless, with wild hair, looking straight in the camera

How Aurélie’s Gallery came to be: The launch

How Aurélie’s Gallery came to be: The launch

October 21, 2021

We’ve been busy rebuilding the website before the launch. As painful as it is and as frustrating the delay is, at least I’m getting to know WordPress quite well!

I have to say that, one of the things I enjoyed the most about putting this business together has been learning new things. I’ve never been a techie but I am starting to understand how it works and to be able to figure things on my own, and that’s immensely rewarding!

November 1, 2021

We’re live!! Woowoo… although, to be honest, the launch is pretty subdued.

Between the website’s unpredictable hiccups and having to still contend with Covid, I didn’t feel like organizing an event. It’s not the launch I had envisioned, but at least we’re on!

We will have a party later, but now everything feels too tentative and complicated. Once things are more settled (and the health crisis is under control), I want to have a series of pop-up events, setting up a few days in NY, LA, Paris, etc… Wherever I can find a cheap space and I know people!

I already have a million ideas on how to run the events – fingers crossed I’ll be able to start them in the next few months.

Portrait of Aurélie Jezequel

December 1, 2021

After the launch, the first results are in: we got a lot of positive feedback (and some orders!). I am very happy with the 3 exhibits we started with. I think it’s a great mix.

Lori Adamski-Peek’s images of horses are stunning and different from what you usually see in “animal portraiture” (is there such a thing? I’m sure there is!). Andre Baranowski’s nature photography couldn’t be lovelier – just looking at it you can feel the touch of the sun on the flowers and the breeze in the leaves. And Martin Adolfsson’s minimalist images of suburban development around the world are intriguing. His work raises many interesting questions about globalization and uniformity.

I’m forever grateful to them for trusting me with their images and believing in my project.

January 2, 2022

It will be interesting to see how things develop. The launch was delayed so we were not really able to benefit from a full holiday shopping season. Fine-art prints take time to make so we cut it close for people to get theirs on time. Even the home & work accessories in the Gift Shop are made on-demand, which means it takes a couple of weeks to get them… Not ideal when you’re competing with businesses that promise next-day delivery!

We also can’t compete with cheap companies. I don’t have $50 prints – that’s not what we do. We will diversify in the coming months to offer a wider price range, but I know I’ll never be able nor want to compete with the “cheap & fast” companies.

I believe there’s a place for the gallery and what we offer. There’s a place for quality and uniqueness. We just need to find not only our audience but also our customers. They’re out there, I know it. After all, I’m out there! 😉









If you missed it, read Part 1 and Part 2.

Follow the blog for more of my aventures in entrepreneurshipland!

Portrait of Aurélie in front of a wall of photographs

Meet the Artists Kiritin Beyer and Parris Jaru

Meet the Artists Kiritin Beyer and Parris Jaru

“Reappropriation” is an apt title for this series. Abandoned spaces are reappropriated and turned into private playgrounds, while ancient customs are reinvented.

The photographs are a collaborative effort between Kiritin Beyer, a French & Danish photographer, and Parris Jaru, a Jamaica-born painter.

I met Kiritin a long time ago. When you both work in photography in New York AND are both French, you’re bound to cross paths! We moved in similar circles and worked a few times together. She has a very calm energy about her and you can feel some of it in her work. Her images are powerful but not “loud.”

I particularly love this series. Kiritin Beyer had shot an earlier series in an abandoned penal colony in French Guinea (West Africa). The place might have been empty, but she could feel the ghosts of its past.

A mysterious figure in a traditional African costume and mask dancing in a forest

This led her to the idea of “summoning” a character to stand guard in other deserted locations. Working with Parris Jaru and drawing on African, Indigenous and Caribbean rituals, Kiritin Beyer created costumes and searched for masks. They studied traditional dances and looked for forgotten places.

The resulting images are striking and filled with unanswered questions. A mysterious character inhabits a no man’s land of empty buildings that have been reclaimed by nature. He changes appearances and his face is always hidden by a mask.

We know nothing of him or where he is; he simply stands before us, caught in the middle of rituals and dances he alone knows the meaning of.

I love art that makes you wonder and takes you on a journey.

A mysterious figure in an African costume and mask lies down on the floor of an abandoned building

Aurélie’s Gallery video presentation

Aurélie’s Gallery video presentation

A funny thing happened when I decided to launch the gallery. I got super-crazy camera shy! Kind of a problem when you’re supposed to be the face of your company, isn’t it?

Here’s a little video presentation I shot early on that I am finally releasing. Be kind – don’t forget, being in front of a camera petrifies me! 

Let’s not forget the wonderful artists who believe in me and the gallery.

I (obviously) couldn’t do this without them! 

Close up of a black horse against a black background
White fireplace against a wall in construction
A shaded and flowery spot in a park
Japanese temple reflected on a lake
A woman dancing in a wheat field on a sunny summer day
Perspective on two different skyscrapers, each with a different architectural style and feel
Female model standing against a wall
Profile of a young woman, with her hair floating in the wind, and with superimposed tactile effects on the print
Aerial view of a surreal industrial landscape
Portrait of Ornette Coleman

Meet Jazz Photographer Jimmy Katz

Meet Jazz Photographer Jimmy Katz

Jimmy Katz is the most prolific and celebrated jazz photographer of the last 30 years.

As NPR stated, “How you know you’ve made it in jazz: you get your photo taken by Jimmy Katz!”

I am incredibly proud to show his work and grateful for his trust and support. We met through Tim, my husband, who worked with Jimmy and his wife Dena on a few of their shoots.

They opened their world to us and invited us to intimate jazz performances. Thanks to them, we got the chance to see some incredible talent and witness jazz’s creativity and mastery.

Jimmy Katz’s love for the music can be felt through his photographs. Since that fateful evening when, as a teen, he went to see Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey at Carnegie Hall, he has loved and breathed jazz. He now has more than 4,000 records and an encyclopedic knowledge of the music and its history.

One of his most cherished memories is when the great Andrew Hill invited him to sit practically under his piano during his last recording session. Hill was dying of cancer but enjoyed the creative energy of the moment. Art is an act of creation and so, by extension, it is life — never was this truer than on that day.

Over the last 30 years, Jimmy Katz has photographed the who’s who of jazz. He added audio recording and engineering to his arsenal to further his work and connections to the musicians.

Jimmy and Dena Katz have done over 200 magazine covers for Downbeat and Jazz Times alone and have worked on over 580 recording projects for a variety of labels. They have witnessed and captured creative collaborations few others ever get to see or hear.

Arthur Taylor playing on his drums
Portrait of Ray Charles
Greg Osby playing the saxophone on stage

Giant Steps Arts, the non-profit Jimmy Katz founded in 2018, is his way to give back to the community. Thanks to donations, he’s able to help musicians create personal projects free of artistic compromise or commercial constraint. Unlike with a traditional recording company, the musicians keep ownership of the master tape and are then able to sell their music freely.

The fact that Jimmy Katz knows his subjects so well gives an extra depth to his portraits. They are not just people in front of his camera for him – many are friends and people he has worked with over the years as a music recorder and engineer. He sits next to them while they play and works alongside them to capture improvised moments of musical brilliance.

Jimmy Katz approaches photography like a jazz musician approaches music. There’s a plan, yes, but there’s always room for last-minute changes and for that elusive magic all artists chase after. He brings all his gear to the set and chooses on the spot the ones that work the best for that moment. Like in jazz, things are calculated AND free – a perilous exercise many fail, but one Jimmy Katz excels in.

Portrait of Ornette Coleman

Meet Fashion Photographer Helena Palazzi

Meet Fashion Photographer Helena Palazzi

Helena Palazzi’s women are self-confident and in full power of their seduction. Her images celebrate femininity and sophistication and perfectly reflect her own dual nature.


Helena Palazzi grew up in Sweden, where equality between men and women is valued. I imagine this helped shape her image of women as strong and independent beings [which we are!].

Her early exposure to movies and fashion magazines fueled her with powerful iconography. It was the 80s, a time of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, when larger-than-life supermodels reigned supreme.

Helena Palazzi’s interest in art brought her to photography. With a second-hand film camera and a darkroom set up in her family’s garage, she started to experiment, looking to capture fragile moments of beauty.

In her early 20s she moved to Italy, her father’s country. There her Scandinavian roots mixed with the Latin world and she embraced Italy’s sophistication and elegance.

You can see Helena Palazzi’s dual cultures in her work: her women are both strong and seductive, mixing the coolness of the North with the South’s vibrancy.

I love that mix and how beautiful and timeless her images are. The clothes might be right off the runway or from 10 years ago, it doesn’t matter: they are not the focus – the woman is.

Maybe because I also grew up in the supermodels’ area, but Helena’s depiction of women speaks to me. I feel the fashion world (and world at large) can always use more empowering images of women, don’t you?

A woman in fancy lingerie bathing in a milky bath

Helena Palazzi is also the nicest person I ever met in the fashion world! We worked a few times together, most notably for Resource Magazine, a photography magazine I had created with a friend.

For one series, we shot in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. We had a model, a small crew, some basic equipment, and LOTS of fake snow!

Things were hectic leading up to the shoot and I hadn’t had time to ask for a permit (!!). We just went and did our thing, all the while praying no one would catch us – thankfully, no one did and the resulting series was a big hit for the magazine!

PS: While the memory makes me smile, I don’t recommend winging it nowadays. Park officials have gotten a lot more diligent and are quick to shut you down if you don’t have the proper authorization and paperwork! Beware!

Woman in a wheat field

How Aurélie’s Gallery came to be: The Struggle

How Aurélie’s Gallery came to be: The Struggle

February 1, 2021

After all these months of struggle and turmoil, I announced today on social media the upcoming launch of the gallery!

The response was wonderful – so many people congratulated me and made the jump to follow the gallery’s page. I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support.

I am also freaked out! I started to worry people were going to be disappointed and that I was not going to live up to their expectations. And putting out into the world made it all too real; I can’t just take my sweet time anymore – I said the gallery will launch in the spring so it needs to be! The ongoing struggle to get their business to life just went up in intensity!

I spent the last few months working on this, learning a ton about marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, sales tax and all that fun stuff. Except for my close friends, no one knew was I was doing, I was flying under the radar in my little bubble. That time is over: people now know, and I’d better deliver!

Although I had a freakout moment after making the announcement, I know I needed to take that step. I had to dive in, otherwise, I would have spent the next 6 months researching and tweaking things ad nauseam. At some point, you need to go into the world!

February 8, 2021

As soon as I made my big splashy announcement, I learned the website would take a lot more time than anticipated! We went from launching in the spring to launching whenever the site will be ready. The struggle continues.

Pushing the launch creates a whole set of problems: from having to revise the exhibits calendar to cutting our yearly revenue (but not our expenses!), from having to sustain people’s interest during that extended gestation period to reassuring the photographers who already signed up…

The setback really crushed me. It felt like the rug got pulled from underneath me. I was so looking forward to launching, to making this dream a reality, and it was exciting to feel I was getting closer…

[2022 Insight: I now realize my expectations were completely unrealistic. I had no sense of how long building a custom site takes and didn’t do due diligence to really understand what I was getting into. Lesson #1: when venturing to new territories, like coding and websites are for me, ask questions. And then ask some more questions, and some more, until you feel you have a bit of a grasp of what’s happening.]

Laptop on a desk

February 19, 2021

The struggle is still here, but I’m focusing on going onward and (hopefully) upward. I’m busy working on the non-fun part of the business – the business plan, financial planning and other fine print stuff.

[2022 Insight: although I found financial projections utterly pointless since there’s no way to know or even guess how much sales you will do, listing all the expenses your new business will face is incredibly helpful. Sobering, but helpful.]

I looked for new online groups to join. As a producer, I was part of a few amazing groups that would freely share their knowledge and resources, no strings attached. So imagine my disappointment when the female entrepreneurs’ groups I joined turned to anything but.

First, it felt like 99% of the people there were business/ marketing/ social media consultants. How many consultants does the world need? (no offense to consultants, some are incredibly helpful and insightful, particularly the one we worked with putting this business together, Stuart Goldstein!)

Secondly, most of the posts were either motivational a la, “you go, girl!” (empty words when you’re looking for concrete answers on how to launch and run your business), or sale pitches!

What was most disheartening though was how unprofessional and amateurish so many people sounded like. From cutesy avatars to bad selfies, from dated graphics and imagery to emoticons overload, most people did not know how to present themselves properly, even said consultants!

It’s a shame because online groups can be incredibly helpful and uplifting. I’ll just need to find the right ones! 

PS: If you know any good ones, leave them in the comment below! Thank you!

April 15, 2021

I’m busy working on gathering all the content we need for the website, the images, price lists, descriptions, and artists’ statements. All the while working on creating some ads on social media to reach more people.

It is very interesting to see the platforms through this new angle. I never ran an ad before so I have a lot to learn. Me being me, I much prefer the creative part of the job to the analytical one. It’s fun designing ads and writing copy. It’s much less fun and more of a struggle (at least for me) to look at charts and decipher them to define my next step.

As much as advertising has evolved and improved since its early days, what David Ogilvy said 70 years ago still rings true today: “When you spend $1 on advertising, fifty cents go to waste – the problem is that we don’t know which fifty cents.”

That harsh truth used to make me laugh when I worked in advertising. Now that I’m an advertiser, not as much! Oh, how the table turned! 

Aurélie at her desk

May 25, 2021

Our developer works on a separate server, which got hacked yesterday. When she was able to finally go back in, the damage was extensive. A lot of her coding got messed up, images disappeared, links got broken. It’s a terrible setback and another delay.

I’m so upset, I don’t even know what to say. The struggle with putting this website together is never-ending.

I know in the long run it doesn’t matter if I launch in May or July or even in the fall. These are self-imposed deadlines no one is really holding me up to (I’m forever grateful to the photographers who said yes early and wait so patiently and graciously for me to get this website up and out). What matters is that people love (and buy) the photographs I’ll feature.

But it’s hard to not feel discouraged. When is this thing finally going to launch? Will it ever? Urgh…

June 3, 2021

Social media: the thing I enjoy and dread in equal measure!

I did a Story today on Instagram to announce a new post about a photographer I love, Gregory Crewdson. I felt sleek and smart… until hours later (hours!), when a friend sent me a screenshot of my Story, which was just a blank space. The image was not visible for whatever reason.

I was so embarrassed and upset. I know I’m not a digital native, but, come on! That was such a rookie mistake (but I’m after all still kinda new at Stories – I’m a late adopter, what can I say?). I felt so deflated, and thought I would never figure social media out… But then, something amazing happened!

Screenshot of my Instagram post about Gregory Crewdson
Gregory Crewdson liked my post about his work (!!!). [Granted, it might have only been someone from his studio, not him in person, but hey! That still counts!]

I was so thrilled and giddy, I was jumping up and down (in my head at least).

So, here was, in a nutshell, my relationship with social media: terrible and wonderful, all at the same time!

*For people unfamiliar with Gregory Crewdson, he’s a fine art photographer who stages eerie scenes in suburban locations. His work is strange, moody and melancholic – I love it! Read my post here.

June 10, 2021

Seeing the mockup of the website today. There’s still a lot to be finalized but I can (almost) see the launch!

On another note, I’m going through a bit of soul searching here. You see, I knew from the beginning I wanted the gallery to be very personal (that’s why I used my first name for it). This gallery is an extension of myself, of the years I spent working in the photo world, and of the many talented photographers I met along the way.

When putting the business together, it was clear to me I had to be the face of the business. It was not an ego trip. It was just this self-evident truth: I am Aurélie’s Gallery and Aurélie’s Gallery is me.

But I’m now facing a new struggle as I find myself fighting against doubts and stage fright. Granted, I’ve never been comfortable in front of a camera, but this is next level. As soon as I said I will be the face of the company, my old fears and shyness came rushing back and were like, “Ummm, are you sure?”

By the time you read this, I might have gotten over it. Or I might not. Only time will tell (so stay tuned!).

PS: this is a photo of me as a kid, before shyness and doubts settled in. I gotta go back to that kid!

Aurélie as a kid

July 22, 2021

What do you do when things are different from what you had envisioned? I had to undergo a major adjustment while working on starting the gallery.

You see, as a producer on photo shoots, I was used to being in control and having backup plans for all contingencies that came my way. I work with a tight-knit group of people who I know and trust. We all jump through crazy hoops to meet deadlines and budgets… no matter how impossible they are!

But with the gallery, I had to give some of that control to people who can do things I clearly cannot do, like our fine-art printer who does beautiful prints, or our web developer who is painstakingly coding our site as we speak.

As a producer (and Capricorn), not being in control of all aspects of the gallery has been quite the adjustment! (read: I’m driving everyone crazy)

Am I the only one who has trouble giving away control? I can’t be, right?

August 20, 2021

Our server crashed, wiping out most of the site, the coding, images and text. The backup is buggy so we basically have to start from scratch. Our September launch date is now pushed to whenever.

To say this is devastating is an understatement. Maybe I should give up.

[Spoiler alert: I didn’t]


Stay tuned for Part 3. Will I be able to launch? Won’t I? (well, we’re on the website so you know I did, but it was not without some more struggles!)

If you missed it, read Part 1 here.

Aurélie’s Gallery from A to Z Guide

Aurélie’s Gallery from A to Z Guide

When I decided to start Aurélie’s Gallery, it was clear to me it needed to reflect who I was and what I believed in. That principle was my guide when putting the business together.

Here’s what is important to me.

A is for Artists – It’s not easy being a photographer. The competition is fierce and budgets are ever-shrinking. I want the gallery to succeed so it becomes another opportunity for photographers to monetize their work. Most artists are often focused on their next project, neglecting past works… but these past works are interesting and deserve to be seen. The gallery is a way to feature them and for photographers to benefit from them.

C is for Curation – I knew early on I wanted the gallery to be personal (that’s why I used my first name for it!). The curation needed to be equally personal. I am starting with photographers I know and whose work I love, but even when I’ll expand to people I don’t personally know, the connection to the work and them will be important. If I love the images but don’t get along with the artist, I won’t sign them. Life is too short to deal with divas and jerks!

Aurélie and photographer Jimmy Katz
Aurélie and photographer Andre Baranowski
Aurélie and photographer Jazzmine Beaulieu
Aurélie and photographer Edwin Jimenez
E is for Experience – I worked for 25+ years in the photography world. I was a producer for advertising and fashion shoots, and I also started and ran a photography magazine. I met many talented photographers along the way – the gallery is to celebrate them and their work.

F is for Freedom – As my parents are getting older, I want to spend more time with them in France. That meant I couldn’t continue working as a producer in NY; I needed a new business that would allow me the flexibility to go back and forth. And with an online gallery, as long as I have an internet connection, I’m in business!

I is for Independent – Being independent has been the guiding force behind how I led my life. That’s why I left my 9-5 job in an ad agency to launch my production company at 27.

I want to work with other independent businesses and that’s one of the reasons I chose our printer. He is an incredible craftsman and artist in his own right, but I also love the fact that he works independently and carves his own slice of the world. I could have gone to some big printing company – their turnaround time was shorter for one thing – but I’d rather work one-on-one with someone I know and appreciate. I’m not just going to be a number with him. He cares… and so do I!

K is for Koala – Just because they’re cute!

L is for Learning – I learned so much working on this new business! From sale tax laws (boring) to social media rules (fascinating), my brain has been on overdrive this past year… and I love it. It has been challenging at times, but also incredibly exciting and rewarding to get out of my comfort zone and expand my horizon.

N is for New York – This city is an incredible source of inspiration and strength for me. The energy is palpable, and the “can do” attitude is infectious. I would have never done as much as I have done in my life if it was not for living there.

O is for Opportunity – I want the gallery to feature a diverse array of talent and showcase artists who might not otherwise get the opportunity. Women, people of color, non-binary… it is important to me to highlight under-represented artists. What matters is the connection I feel to the work and the person.

P is for Print On Demand – As a new business, I can’t afford to buy in bulk ahead of time. Enter Print on Demand, where the pillow or notebook you order is made just for you at that moment.

POD is less risk upfront, but it also means less waste as I am not storing a gazillion products which might not sell. Mass-produced items are cheap because they’re produced in huge quantities, allowing for economy of scale. But they generate more waste in the production process as it’s less precise and a lot of products end up in landfills as they outnumber the demand. Our partner’s printing machines create almost no wastewaters and use less energy than standard industry printers.

Moreover, Gift Shop items are produced in different locations in the US and Europe, which helps cut down shipping time and costs. Having production centers close to you also means reducing our CO2 emissions when transporting your order.

Q is for Quality – I chose my partners carefully, from our master printer to the Gift Shop fulfillment company I work with. I want you to be happy with your purchase, be it a print or a tote bag.

Manhattan skyline on a sunny day

S is for Small Business – Because that’s what Aurélie’s Gallery is!

T is for Tim – My husband and associate. He has great business sense and knows his way around websites (plus, you know, he’s a pretty good guy!).

U is for Unique – You will not find the images and related home and work accessories anywhere else!

V is for Variety – New exhibits will be coming regularly, along with beautiful images in the Print Shop. From landscapes to fashion, still life to portraits, sign up for the newsletter or follow us on social (or both) to see what’s coming next.

W is for Welcoming – I want Aurélie’s Gallery to be a welcoming space, where different people can find something to enjoy. Maybe you’re decorating your place and are looking for art for your wall? Maybe you want to read the blog and learn about photographers you might not know? Either way, I am happy you are here!

How Aurélie’s Gallery came to be: The Idea

How Aurélie’s Gallery came to be: The Idea

January 1st, 2020

After years of working as a producer on photo shoots, I felt it was time for a new challenge, something that would reconnect me with why I fell in love with photography in the first place. I knew so many talented photographers that the idea of creating a space for them to show their personal work came naturally.

I toyed with the idea of opening a physical gallery but quickly abandoned the idea – too much overhead, especially in New York where rents are sky-high. Plus, I know myself: after years of working on my own in my apartment and enjoying the freedom of being a freelancer, having to go every day to an office (in this case, a gallery) was unfathomable. I’d been spoiled and couldn’t go back to a 9 to 5 grind.

Years ago I created with a friend of mine Resource Magazine, a publication dedicated to photography. We worked from her place or mine, with an army of interns squatting our sofas. Eventually, it became too much and we got an office… which I promptly hated.

With modern technology, we can work anywhere, any time. Why would I tie myself to a desk and chair? I love working in cafés (or, you know, on my bed with my dog curled up next to me). I knew the idea of having a physical gallery was not going to work. The next best thing was to bring my gallery online, so here we are! This year is the year when I make my dream a reality!

[Spoiler Alert: 2020 was definitely NOT the year when my gallery idea came to life!]

January 31, 2020

I started meeting with photographers I know and whose work I love. The response has been very positive and supportive – the idea is sound, but the way we implement it is what’s going to make or break it. We really need to make sure the website is both beautiful, with a great gallery experience, and easy to navigate (I can’t afford to lose people because where to buy is not easy to find!).

There are a lot of factors to consider – I really hope I’m able to make this idea come to life! Talking to the artists gave me so many new ideas, like doing pop-ups in different cities, or showing them on set during one of their shoots, etc. It’s all very exciting and inspiring!

Although I’m set when it comes to the printer for the fine-art works, I’m completely lost as far as fulfillment houses go for our Gift Shop products. Finding a company that does quality items at a reasonable price is no easy task!

That part makes me nervous as I know nothing about manufacturing – it’s a brave new world I’m discovering here, and a slightly intimidating one if I’m being honest (that being said, it is also super interesting to learn all these new things and get into the nitty-gritty of how things are made).

I can’t afford to buy large quantities of products when I don’t know what will sell (or not), so I have little room to maneuver: I’d better not mess it up!

July 29, 2020

As you can see, there’s a huge gap between today’s date and the first time I wrote – covid happened and wreaked havoc to my plans and timeline.

I have to say it took me a long time to get out of my state of sideration. The pandemic brought such an unprecedented break in our lives (at least in the western world which had been untouched by war and major upheavals in decades), that it paralyzed me (and I suspect countless others).

As we were trying to adapt to this new reality, George Floyd’s death brought an intense moment of reckoning, one that was long overdue in my opinion. The soul-searching that ensued was hard but necessary for us to become better people.

I started to question the very idea of starting a gallery. The world was turned upside down and it felt like everything was now up for grabs and for reinvention – all had been disrupted to such a degree that it was hard to not be shaken by all the ensuing turmoil…

Little by little, the idea of the gallery gained force again. With the pandemic, the universe told us in no uncertain terms that we have little control over events, but at least I can still control what I do with my time, and I decided to put my energy into this project. This gallery not only celebrates my lifelong love for photography, it also celebrates life and creativity – what better project to focus on during a time of upheaval and uncertainty?

Portrait of Aurelie wearing a mask during the pandemic
September 18, 2020

I’m going from a service-based business (working as a freelance producer) to a product-based company, and an online one at that! I’m basically starting from scratch – there is so much I need to learn! From sale tax to shipping, from manufacturing to marketing… It’s overwhelming and fun in equal measures, depending on my mood of the day!

One of the most interesting things has been diving into online advertising and learning how targeted your campaigns can be.

As a business owner working with a shoestring budget, I’m grateful I have access to these new tools. I would have never been able to afford an ad page in Elle Décor!

As a former ad producer, I’m dismayed to see how online platforms are siphoning ad budgets from print magazines, billboards and such. Even if I had the budget to put an ad in Elle Décor, would I when Google or Facebook ads are so much more targeted and trackable?

As a citizen, I’m also slightly freaked out by how granular online tools can be, how they can pinpoint people based on their interests, income, location, education etc… People give some of this info voluntarily, but a lot of it is deduced based on their/ our online behavior, using crazily smart computers.

It’s a brave new world out there, one filled with both possibilities and pitfalls.

November 2, 2020

Can I be honest in here for a second? I’m feeling overwhelmed by the demands of social media.

I used to enjoy it – while being fully aware of its addictive nature and propensity to create alienation (without even talking about how our personal information is used and abused!), I focused on its positive aspects. Social media allowed me to stay connected with my family and friends in France, with people in my industry, and to promote in a lighthearted way my production services and ideas.

I never thought about Stories, Reels or any of those things – I would post some pictures and write a funny caption every once in a while, and that was the extent of my social media habit.

All that changed once I had the idea to create the gallery: as an online business, social media is key to having people find us (that and SEO, but I leave the SEO to my husband and our web developer, aka, the nerd brigade). I had to learn social media on a whole new level. It’s not enough to post some pics and funny captions – I need a strategy, I need to mix formats and (God forbid!) include video… and then, track results, see what works, what doesn’t, try different configurations. Do I highlight a post by making a Story or a Reel? Do I do long videos or short ones? How often do I post?… So many questions!

I’m trying to enjoy the trial-and-error process (what’s what life is about, after all!), but it’s pretty overwhelming at times.





Read Part 2 for more trials and tribulations (and all the mistakes I made in the process!)

Laptop on a desk in front of a window

Meet Nature Photographer Andre Baranowski

Meet Nature Photographer Andre Baranowski

Nature is the ideal imperfectly perfect subject for Andre Baranowski, and he has been photographing it for almost thirty years.

I’ve worked with Andre Baranowski a few times on his advertising shoots. I remember a project for a fast-food chain; the sight of the stylist flipping burgers at 8am made me a vegetarian (at least for a little while!).

I love Andre Baranowski’s work because it combines exactitude and freedom – a rare mix. It’s like working simultaneously both sides of your brain!

While carefully constructed and technically perfect, Andre Baranowski’s photographs are never stiff or precious.

Going back to our food shoot, the stylist would build elaborate and perfect-looking piles of fries… and Andre Baranowski would mischievously remove a couple of fries here or there, bringing life into the composition.

As a photographer, he welcomes and embraces the unexpected… even if it means making it happen if needed!

Andre Baranowski has a wealth of knowledge about photography, both technical and artistic. He started in the film days as a printer for Conde Nast, working with celebrated and talented photographers. Examining countless images on contact sheets and negatives shaped his own creative vision and led him to pick up a camera.

While the gardens and parks he captures are man-made and cared for, Andre Baranowski favors environments that feel wild and free. Once he has planned his image in his head, he has the patience to wait for the ray of sun or soft breeze that will add that extra magic to the photograph.

Standing in nature is akin to a religious experience for Andre Baranowski, and his photographs beautifully capture these moments of grace.

See Andre Baranowski’s exhibit here.

Pond covered with fallen flower petals (vertical format)
Shaded and flowery spot in a park
Field of flowers hit by a ray of sunlight

Meet Conceptual Photographer Martin Adolfsson

Meet Conceptual Photographer Martin Adolfsson

Martin Adolfsson’s images may seem straightforward at first glance, but they are anything but.


I’ve worked with Martin Adolfsson a few times and love his approach to his subjects. He’s very meticulous — he learns all he can about a topic and comes to set with a clear idea of what he wants to achieve.

What I love most about his work is that his seemingly straightforward images end up making us question the reality they claim to portray. The contrast between the simplicity of his setup and the complexity his work explores makes for an intriguing experience.

Nothing is like it seems.

Both as an artist and as a human being, Martin Adolfsson questions what’s in front of him and is interested in the meaning behind the surface.

His series “Suburbia Gone Wild” is a perfect illustration of his inquisitive mind. For it, he visited suburban model homes in developing countries. In the process, he captured the emergence of a new middle-class, one living in a bubble of its own making, disconnected from their cultures and customs.

Everyone lives in the same house, with the two-door garage and grassy yard in the back. The fact that your house is in Moscow or Cairo doesn’t come into play — you live in your own version of The Truman Show.

It is discomforting to see an American-style house plopped randomly in a country with a completely different history, culture and geography. It is downright bizarre to see a chalet that looks like it belongs to the Swiss Alps and learn it is in fact located in Bangkok!

Martin Adolfsson’s photographs ask what happens when the world follows an Americanized way of living. How does that uniformity affect local cultures and customs? What does it mean to be of a place if you live in a house that doesn’t pertain to that place? How do you balance globalization and individualism?

See Martin Adolfsson’s exhibit here.

Facade of a traditional chalet built in a suburb in Thailand
Profile of the neck of a white horse
Black horse turning its back on us

Meet Photographer Lori Adamski-Peek

Meet Photographer Lori Adamski-Peek

Lori Adamski-Peek is the perfect example of why I started the gallery. While she’s known for her advertising work, her personal series is where a heart is.

I worked with Lori Adamski-Peek on a couple of her ad shoots when she came to New York. She was warm and friendly, and the jobs felt like a family affair.

When I thought about artists for the gallery, I naturally went back to people I had felt a connection with.

That’s when I discovered Lori Adamski-Peek’s horse series and fell in love with the images.

As I came to learn, Lori Adamski-Peek has had a life-long love story with horses. She was obsessed with them as a kid and started to ride and compete at a young age. Even when her photography career took off, she continued riding and caring for her horses (she now has three!).

Her decision to combine her two passions was a natural one. Who better than someone who loves horses to photograph them?

But no matter how much you love them, animals make for tricky talent.

Even the most trained and well-behaved ones can suddenly stop cooperating or get spooked by the unfamiliar setup (how many of us get uncomfortable when a camera is pointed at us? Now imagine being an animal and having no idea what’s going on!).

Close up photograph of a black horse against a black backdrop

Lori Adamski-Peek’s understanding and connection to her subjects helped her during the process. She carefully chose them, and while the two horses featured here couldn’t be more different, they are equally striking. You can feel the strength of the black horse, while the white horse looks almost otherworldly.

Lori Adamski-Peek chose a very pared-down setup, with minimal lighting and simple backdrops, framing the horses as living sculptures.

What is left for us to see is the animals’ essence – their power and beauty, their strength and grace. The resulting images are both striking and unforgettable.




See Lori Adamski-Peek’s exhibit here.

behind the scene of Lori photographing a horse
Profile of the neck of a white horse
Black horse turning its back on us

PS: I incorrectly thought at first the white horse was albino but it is actually a Perlino, a breed known for its cream coat with pink skin and its blue eyes. The cream color can vary from a very pale off-white to a pale coffee color [thanks, Wikipedia!].