What's best for image-based content: gallery or post?

Hello wonderful WPMU world!

I'm building a relatively simple site for a client who essentially just wants to share photos of sports cars (Ok, I realise the subject matter is clearly totally irrelevant - they could be photos of toilet seats).

I want to be able to upload a photo, tag or categorise it based on the make and maybe location (ie Geneva Car Show, Streets around London... etc.). I want to be able to display the most recent photos dynamically - ie, the most recent appear without having to be added to a front-page gallery every time there's a change, and then I want users to be able to dig further to see photos of just, say, Aston Martins, Bugattis or Ferraris.

I've done a little playing with gallery plugins, but it seems that none of them really give me that flexibility.

So is it really right that assigning each image to a post is the best way to get that level of "sortability"?

In time I'm sure that would probably become sustainable (though annoying each time he returns from a show with 200+ images), but at the moment I've got a LOT of images to upload from his back catalogue.

Any ideas? I'm open to creativity.