I still am not explaining myself very well. I'm creating a gallery page with a hard set of design limits. 15 images maximum. Let's compare it to a contact database with first name, last name, address, e-mail.
To echo the contact info in order you have to have a separate data field for each column. It's no different for this gallery. I can see how generating a gallery from a table that pairs images and galleries and then running a query to join the two records together would be fairly straight forward but I'd have to redesign my gallery building form completely.
I'm not going to re-work my project at this point because I've built a beautiful and easy form that uses a searchable, selectable interactive image list to populate the gallery slide fields.
I probably should have also mentioned that when images are uploaded a whole bunch of info is gathered. Metadata, the user that uploaded the images, the description, the geotag info... I need to bring that data in for each image in the gallery because it's displayed to the users and it's important to the QA and QC process for the client.
I simplified the query and the form entry from above so there were fewer lines of code and it's working just fine for now. I'm not sure why a gallery image table like the one that you suggested would be more efficient than a table with a slot for each slide. It looks like there's twice as many fields to search through because you've got 2 fields to look at plus an order field to generate the image set where my single table just has to look once for a match to an image ID.
Thanks again for your help.