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Dear All,

On my computer I have a quote, supposedly from Nadar, that I copied from somewhere nearly 20 years ago. I want to use it in something I'm writing but I can't find a source for it. Googling it only brings up a handful of matches, all of which originate from me. I've also tried translating bits of it back into French and googling those but again can't find any matches. The quote is:

‘this idiot’s profession, so insipid after thirteen years of work.’

I've of course searched Quand j'étais photographe but without success. It's such a great quote that I can't believe it hasn't been more widely disseminated, which leads me to think it might not be genuine, or I've butchered it or misattributed it somehow. Does anyone recognise it and have a source for it?

Many thanks and all best wishes, 


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Hello Paul,

I don't know where the quotation comes from, but when I search on Google Books with a few keywords in French, I come across this sentence:

"ce métier d'imbécile si insipide au bout de 13 ans de pratique"
("this fool's job so insipid after 13 years of practice").

Maybe Nadar never wrote this sentence, but simply said it?

Someone will have remembered it, no doubt?

The book from which the sentence is extracted cannot be read on Google Books, unfortunately, but it should be possible to find it used:
Nadar ou Le paradoxe vital, by Roger Greaves, Flammarion 1980.

For example on eBay France :

Best wishes


Thank you so much for this, José. It's very much appreciated.

I'd searched using 'treize ans' as a search term. I hadn't thought to try '13 ans.'

I've ordered a copy from Abebooks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's properly referenced and gives a source for the quote. 

All best,


Success! It's from a letter he wrote to George Sand in 1866. 

So… at 11:00 PM you order the book from Abebooks, and…

by 11:45 PM you've already spotted the quote in the book?


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