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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    God given gift or just practice?

    I have heard people quote 'I wish I could draw but I can't and that's why I do photography'. In my opinion the ability to draw, or paint, or sculpt is not a God given gift at birth, but one that can be acquired with practice, like many other techniques, such as bricklaying, plastering, photography, etc. What do other think?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #2
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    While ones ability to draw may improve with practice, ones maximum potential to draw is a given gift at birth. I see it in the difference between my family compared to my wife's family. There is an inate and natural drawing ability in several members of my family over several generations that is completely absent in my wife's family. It's like singing or dancing, or mathematical ability. Practice may improve this ability but even with unlimited dedication and practice, not everyone can become great at these endeavors. My life experience leads me to believe this. I draw on 30 years as an elementary school teacher.
    My blog / photo website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

    Openly biased and unabashedly
    pro film and wet darkroom

  3. #3

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    I agree with frank and disagree with clive, although I would not agree with the the idea of a "gift given" - too intentional for my taste, thank you

    There was a similar though not identical thread a few months ago. I said there

    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh
    I see photographs as one medium for art - and it's the art bit that's difficult, whether one's medium is paint, stone, silver gelatine prints or indeed words.

    And some people (the vast majority, perhaps) simply don't have the ability to make really good art, to develop a style and a vision of their own that is distinctive and outstanding. This isn't to denigrate all those people (hardly, I am one myself) but just to acknowledge that some are gifted and most are not.

    I don't believe any old person can become Edward Weston (or Marc Chagall or Barbara Hepworth or Mantegna or whoever) just by dint of studying hard for 15 minutes every day before breakfast for a year (or 10000 hours or whatever the latest fad is) ... or, you might be able to, if you have "the gift" latent within you

    Again, to emphasise, this is not to denigrate anyone: I do believe anyone can produce something "artistic", sometimes with guidance, sometimes spontaneously, the question for me is about doing so consistently.

  4. #4
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I would perhaps agree to some extent with the God given gift in terms of mental ability for subjects like mathematics, word power and remembrance. But this may be down to conditions like Asperger’s or other conditions. But skills involving practical ability I believe can be acquired by practice.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  5. #5

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    Acquiring a technical skill is not the same thing as having an artistic ability.

    I know plenty of local "professional" painters who are perfectly technically skilled at applying paint to canvas, rendering scenes accurately and with appropriate perspective and so on and so forth, but whose paintings are nevertheless just illustrations.

    I don't understand what Asperger's syndrome has to do with this, by the way.

  6. #6

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    Let's leave out this talk about God and theology and get down to practical matters of human behavioural and aptitude development that makes us all different.

    People can be naturally gifted with an aptitude for art or photography, just as they can grow up with an aptitude for electronics, mechanics or the fine motor and dexterity required for surgery. It's a natural progression and every person has something as their natural strength, even if they do not know it.

    I would be careful with the definition of 'gifted'. I have has an invaluable working background with gifted and talented children who are easily identified from around the age of two and go through dramatically accelerated schooling. Giftedness is a trait of very high achievers, while aptitude and enthusiasm are qualities that are defined from a natural interest that is pursued and refined over time.

    Aspergers is a very difficult thing to diagnose correctly and assumptions on the capacities of people thought to suffer from an autism spectrum disorder are often proven wrong over time. That is to say, people with ASD can be very high-achieving intellectuals, but not particularly gifted.

  7. #7
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdeeh View Post
    Acquiring a technical skill is not the same thing as having an artistic ability.

    I know plenty of local "professional" painters who are perfectly technically skilled at applying paint to canvas, rendering scenes accurately and with appropriate perspective and so on and so forth, but whose paintings are nevertheless just illustrations.

    I don't understand what Asperger's syndrome has to do with this, by the way.
    An artistic ability can be developed in the same way as a technical skill. The reference to Asperger’s or other conditions is only to illustrate a driving force to excel in a particular achievement.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8

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    I think you probably have some significant misapprehensions about Asperger's Syndrome but this is probably not the time or place to to correct them.
    Suffice to say it is rather more complex in presentation than your post implies

  9. #9
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    Please, let's leave god and the autistic spectrum out of this discussion. Just not helpful or meaningful or relevant.

    Lets refer to nature (genetics) = natural, innate abilities
    My blog / photo website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

    Openly biased and unabashedly
    pro film and wet darkroom

  10. #10
    analoguey's Avatar
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    What about nurture?
    The environment brought up in, the exposure to arts (whichever kind), and possibly the exposure to the idea of 'developing a style' or the idea of not 'needing to conform'?


    Sent from Tap-a-talk

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