From Conor Risch’s article for Photo District News:
Is The Art World Biased Against Commercial Photographers?
If you’ve been to a portfolio review, you’ve probably seen photographers with successful commercial and editorial careers sharing their personal work with curators and gallerists. For myriad reasons, many photographers who first established themselves by shooting assignment work want to build fine-art careers.
Though she had studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design and interned at Pace/MacGill gallery, early in her career Jill Greenberg chose to build her commercial career “so that I could support myself,” she recalls. “I really wanted to do both,” she says, but felt she needed “to make a decision.” As her commercial career grew, it trumped her personal work. “I was working nights and weekends to establish myself as a commercial photographer,” she says. “It is sort of hard to do both.”
Brian Paul Clamp, who shows Greenberg’s work in New York, says he likes “that an artist may be doing commercial work” for a number of reasons. “If they’re a successful photographer, it helps financially to fuel their fine art,” Clamp says. Commercial work also helps get the photographer’s name out there, and “takes a little pressure off me not being their sole source of income,” he adds.