Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Just recently I received an email from a person who I have been following recently regarding online marketing. What was most interesting is that this person was speaking about a book that she had just written based upon the premise that one should do what they love for a living.

What fascinated me most is that in the 1970s and being in my early 30s I found myself drawn to the new younger generation that was then beginning to speak about “doing your own thing”. The goal was to put aside following a more traditional life style and job or career path in favor of choosing a direction that was more exciting and fulfilling. This was the time of communes and dropping out.

I found the notion of doing your own thing to be highly appealing but moving into a commune did not interest me at all. However the inspiration of this led me to then leave my chosen profession of architecture in favor of going off to graduate school to study art and photography which I had grown to love, not knowing where this would lead me.

Now as I look back on this it was a rather daring thing to do at the time. I had spent 5 years on procuring a Bachelor of architecture degree and several years getting my architects license and working in architectural offices. I was well on this professional path and I had a wife and two young children to support. But with the encouragement of my wife I applied for and was accepted to graduate school in photography at the University of New Mexico to develop my personal vision of photography and work towards getting a Masters of Fine Art degree.

Three years later I graduated with my degree and the next question was what to do now to earn a living. I started a search for teaching positions in photography which seemed to be the most logical direction for my new art career. Much to my pleasure and surprise I received an invitation to interview at Cornell University and subsequently was offered a teaching position where I taught for almost 30 years in the Art Department.

So have I been doing what I love all these years? Absolutely. I have been able to pursue my love of photography over the years and become involved in its transition from the darkroom to the digital arena which is proving to be an extremely exciting ongoing experience. Moreover I have supported myself and my family through the teaching of photography and have enjoyed every minute of it and have had many interesting and exciting students some of whom have gone on to develop their own careers in the field of art and photography.

And as a photographer I have been able to spend time traveling and picture making in the US at such inspiring places like Point Lobos on the California coast and White Sands in New Mexico and more recently in the Finger lakes of upstate New York. Additionally I have been to Europe many times and photographed in Paris and Rome, two of the most exciting cities in the world.

As I look back I am really impressed by how well things have worked out for me over the years. And I did find a very satisfying way of earning a living although it was not necessarily the professional artist path that I had hoped for and expected. Maybe that is just another way of saying yes, one should seek after doing what you love for a living, but that you should also be open other possibilities for earning a living that  come along.

Perhaps the title of this post should be "LOVE WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING" rather than "do what you love for a living". There are many ways to earn a living and many of them we can love doing for our livelihood. In the art world the problem is that sometimes artists get stuck in their thinking that if they can't make a living from their livelihood as an artist they can't be happy and that is just not the case. Whatever you do for earning a living can make you happy, no matter what it might be.

1 comment:

What is your opinion?