Creative Maturity

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by markbarendt, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Okay, so I was listening to NPR and they interviewed John Mellencamp.

    This is part of the transcript
    What struck me was the "of course we can play now, too" quip.

    Had to giggle because there's a ring of truth in that. The skills that I'm good at have been honed over years.

    I see in new photographers passion and wonder, but almost everything is an accident, like the younger Mr. Mellencamp, volume, large numbers of takes are needed to get something good. He is essentially admitting that he wasn't that good at his craft back when.

    Over time, if we stick with it, we can become skilled in any craft and a single take becomes plenty to get something.

    For me now, not having to worry if my exposure is workable or not, or how to get a certain effect, and all that jazz is freeing. I can think about an idea instead instead of the machine.

    Kinda fun growing up. :D
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Yes. Yes it is.
     
  3. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    But one would have thought that when grown up a bit, the believe that playing in a place someone else, someone admired, played in would be something special would have passed.
    :D
     
  4. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Kinda reminds of a couple of sayings my father used to quote "the harder I work the luckier I get" or my favorite, "it's not the arrow, it's the indian"
     
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    That's an honest and objective opinion. I can see that in photography too.

    I immediately disagreed, but really almost agree. I gave up on Piano after years of practice because I wasn't talented at it. I could read music, learn a song, practice, get the timing right, and after a while sorta play something like it should sound. I decided I'd rather be a good piano listener than a bad piano player. You used a music example, but music is far more than craft; there is an element of talent involved. I'm even not talented enough to decently provide some simple drums. I can follow music and timing well enough to sing along and know when singing picks back up such as starting a new verse to a song.

    In LF photography, the talent isn't in the action, but prior; knowing what will make the photo you want in terms of light, composition, subject, etc...

    Your extrapolation to photography is indeed agreeable. I'll go further; we can appreciate photography or music more so after learning where are talents are weak.
     
  6. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Love your words!

    It is just now, after some 5-6 years in photography, and reading and learning a lot here on APUG, that I feel I finally start to get a real grip on things... it indeed feels a kind of liberating having to worry less about the outcome...
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Will you stop saying things that just make others look old!
    :wink:
     
  8. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Mark, Your thoughts go hand in hand with a thread I started a few weeks ago. I am just beginning to feel comfortable with the equipment and process to hopefully move to the next step of actually taking some photgraphs that are more than snapshots with really good equipment.

    To jp498's point, years ago I decided I wasn't the level of musician "I" wanted to be so I started making violins. I have been able to touch many more lives by making the violins for musicians who were really talented than I would have ever been able to do by trying to be a performer.
     
  9. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    I would suggest that your lack of perceived talent was more about lack of passion in your pursuit. Talent is relative and subjective in the end.

    2 cents
     
  10. Donmck

    Donmck Member

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  11. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Sums it up perfectly.
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It's not necessarily your talent that was the problem, environment and luck are real factors.

    I had a similar experience in frustration with skiing in my youth, enjoyed it a bunch, especially racing, and literally skied 6-7 days a week from the age of 8 when there was any snow, but I was not big or fast so the coaches in the clubs and schools I was in didn't spend much time on me. (At 16 1/2 I was 5'2" and 110 lbs. At graduation at 17 3/4 I was 6'1" and 175. Only 10lbs over that today at 53 :smile: )

    After high school I wanted to keep skiing cheap so I started teaching. I lucked into working for two guys that were race coaches and within a few weeks of starting to ski with these guys I started losing my bad habits and refining my skills. Inside a month I was faster than anyone in my high school or our rival schools.

    Once I got the right coaching and some polish I actually was encouraged and considered trying out for the pro circuit.

    By that time though my interests were changing, pressures from the family business were there, girls had entered my life, and I had figured out that skiing for a living was real work.

    I moved on.
     
  14. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Well, to be honest, I blatantly and consciously ignored 20 years of "snapshot" photography...:whistling: i am not that young...:laugh:
    The 5-6 years of photography I wrote about was just the time I have been taking photography more seriously, about coinciding with my join date on APUG :wink:
     
  15. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    I disagree. People have different genes, a combination of which may give them a talent for music, art, sports, languages, etc. We can't all aspire to be another Mozart, Rembrandt or Jack Nicklaus no matter how hard we work at it.
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I too have to agree talent trumps hard work sometimes. Some people don't think there is such a thing as talent, but I'm not among them. If I were basing it entirely on my own experiences, that is not a sufficient or objective explanation.

    I've run a business for 15 years and hired many people over the years for many tasks. Some people have a natural ability for certain skills, others don't. Sometimes it takes hard work to develop that skill, but for others, the hard work is better directed to something else they are skilled at. Some people have, some don't have talents for languages, money, math, sales, computer programming, auto repair/troubleshooting, organizing, graphic design, etc... I think most people have latent talents that are infrequently used or inadequately developed, or are impeded by their choices. The hard work and/or high quality training must be focused on a talent, not just trying to make someone into somebody they aren't.
     
  17. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    As I indicated in my prior post, talent is relative and subject, and therefore what successes one takes from their efforts are also subjective and personal. Not everyone seeks to be world class and can therefore be very successful and satisfied with the fruits their talents reap.

    Consider for a moment, Michael Jordan the basketball player has never been considered to be the most physically gifted player however his unbridled passion for winning and competition elevated his considerable God given talent to the status of the "Greatest who ever lived" by most accounts.

    Another view

    BTW, second the vote on a great read on two types of geniuses.
     
  18. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    That's probably true, but I'm not sure it's what was originally meant in this thread. We probably *can* all aspire to be a "competent" composer, painter, or golfer, for some reasonable value of "competent" and with a few caveats about basic prerequisites (e.g., it's unlikely that someone without arms will play much golf, though they certainly could paint or compose).

    Also, you said "no matter how hard we work at it", and I wonder if that's a meaningful formulation. I suspect Jack Nicklaus has worked a whole lot harder on golf than I ever could have, simply because I don't much *like* golf and couldn't possibly sustain the interest and energy to keep at it with the kind of focus that's required to develop elite professional skills at anything. (In my defence, I bet he would feel much the same about wireless systems engineering.)

    How much of---pick a favourite photographer; I was going to say Andre Kertesz---is really attributable to a native, inborn "talent", and how much to a lifetime of sustained work; not just "take a lot of pictures" work, but "take a lot of pictures and consider the results carefully and think about photography and composition first thing in the morning and last thing at night and most things in between" work? I'm not sure if there even *is* an answer.

    (Personally, I think John Mellencamp's early work suffers a bit from over-perfectionism and I might have liked the discarded takes better.)

    -NT
     
  19. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Your genes mark the upper and lower limits. Where you end up in between depends on your environment and dedication.
     
  20. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    i dont believe in this "natural" stuff at all
    Ive known some good athletes that i knew could be better

    but they quit and always quit even if becoming great is something they had always wanted


    look at the recent youtube clip of basketball star rookie tyreke evans swinging a club
    or barkley

    both are great basketball players
    youd think someone with that much "natural" athletic ability could at least hit the ball
    but he cant...not in numerous attempts
    evans has no idea how to even swing the club
    even stand in a way that will allow him to make the purposeful swing he doesn't know how to make
    hit the ball? with any direction? years of solid practice away

    theyre specialists

    evans more so than barkley
     
  21. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Have you ever known someone who is brilliant, tops in their field, expert, accomplished and absolutely hated what they did?
     
  22. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Yes. (Not perhaps tops in her field - not many people can be - but certainly very accomplished, a cut above the rest.)
    Got tired of it all, and dropped it to do something worthwhile.
     
  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I lived that and had the opportunity to move to the next level. What you are not factoring in here are the sacrifices it takes to get there and competing interests.

    Most people's interests are not monolithic or fixed, when the cost gets too high for one interest, priorities change.

    Or they just don't care about golf.

    I'm with them.

    For me the only redeeming value I can see in golf is as a public drinking venue.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    My daughter-in-law has essentially competed her PHD program in Molecular Biology, she is marking time there for the next few months to wait for my son to finish his Bachelors so they can graduate together.

    A month or so ago she was wondering out loud if she wanted to stay in science.

    My Daughter is at Colorado School of Mines, they offer nothing but engineering programs. She got a 1/2 ride scholarship there by scoring highest in the state in science in Academic Decathlon.

    She's doing well.

    Her engineering degree will probably just be a stepping stone to a career as a chef or politician.
     
  25. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    It is definitely not unusual, in today's halls of academia, to excel in every measure but nevertheless dread going to work because of the combative climate.