An interesting blog entry by Paul Graham titled "How To Do What You Love", struck me as having relevance to the "Is it Art" forum, at least tangentially. You can find the full essay here: http://www.paulgraham.com/love.html
There was a reference at the bottom which said:
"Donald Hall said young would-be poets were mistaken to be so obsessed with being published. But you can imagine what it would do for a 24 year old to get a poem published in The New Yorker. Now to people he meets at parties he's a real poet. Actually he's no better or worse than he was before, but to a clueless audience like that, the approval of an official authority makes all the difference. So it's a harder problem than Hall realizes. The reason the young care so much about prestige is that the people they want to impress are not very discerning."
If you substitute the word "photographer" or "artist" for "poet" in the above, the relevance becomes more apparent.
Whenever people try to propose a single, unified definition of art and artists, in relation to photography, I always get the gut feel that they are trying to create a taxonomy that will maximize their ability to obtain "prestige". Interesting....
And regarding Paul's essay, I'm one that falls into the "two job route". My day job is in the Information Technology field, and that pays for the photographic toys and ability to go and make images. Though I do hope to transition towards making the photography a more lucrative endeavour over the next half dozen years or so, and correspondingly reduce my IT work. The one good thing I have is that I love my software work a lot. Best of both worlds.
This leads me to the identification of another facet of "artist photographer", IMNSHO.
I don't think (mind you, this is my sphincterous opinion) that you can call yourself an "artist" in any field of art unless you have it.
Ever notice how the most passionate of artists tend to ignore the discussion of what constitutes "real" artists and art, and correspondingly they seem to be immune to the siren call of prestige and acceptance? They just get on with doing what they do, with passion and enthusiasm. And funny enough, the good ones eventually are labelled "artists" by the external world, despite their not being interested in such labels.
So does my commenting on this very subject disqualify me as being an "artist"? ;-)
Hmmm...maybe I should stop typing/pontificating and go take some more photos, eh?