I don't post about most books that are sent to me, but this book speaks to a regular topic on this blog: how much can a photographer (or any other artist) expect to give up in attempting to make a living from their obsession?
Specifically, the book investigates the lives of famous artists and what they did for a day job to support their art. As the introduction to the book says:
"We expect our geniuses to hide themselves away in attics and have little to do with the mundane concerns that occupy the rest of us. Even the most inspired artists, though, have to pay the rent, and the most visionary mathematicians have to buy groceries."
T.S. Eliot was a banker. Isaac Newton was an economist. Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor. Bram Stoker was a civil service clerk.
It reminds me of something Oscar Wilde wrote (published on Time.com):
“The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer,” wrote Wilde in a recently discovered 13-page letter to an aspiring young writer.
There seems to be a lot of backlash against the "follow your passion" mindset these days. This is not really about that. It's more about accepting some realities of economy and biology. Having a day job not only pays the bills, but can open up new possibilities for improving your art.
I'm thinking King Oscar II wouldn't worry about whether he was a Canon or Nikon guy:
“I would rather have my people laugh at my economies than weep over my extravagance.” – Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway (1827-1907)