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Pictures folder not accessible to Photo Gallery

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(Using Vista Business) I want to use Windows Photo Gallery (WPG) to start
tagging my photo collection but I keep getting an error message to say
C:\Users\[my name]\Pictures is a hidden or system folder (which it isn't).
If I open WPG from the Start menu, it ONLY displays pictures which are in
here: C:\Users\Public or its subfolders. I can't 'add' ANYTHING in the
C:\Users folder or its subfolders to WPG. How can I fix this? I could just
move all my pictures to the Public folder, but I’d like to understand why I
need to do this - why can't pictures and documents all be in my 'User' folder
and still accessible by WPG? WPG is not malfunctioning, in the sense that
it will happily display a photo if I double-click on it in Windows Explorer,
and it will move forward and backwards through that folder, wherever it is.
But that's not going to help me tag and organise thousands of photos in a
hundred or so folders easily. I'm the only user of this machine, I’ve got
full admin rights and I've got User Account Control switched off.
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