Of course Mozart needed to practice. He also needed to be born in to the right family, place and time in history. And still:
Some are Mozarts some not. All must practice.
He often spent much time at the clavier, picking out thirds, which he was always striking, and his pleasure showed that it sounded good. [...] In the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets and pieces at the clavier. [...] He could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time. [...] At the age of five he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down
some people are born with "it" whatever "it" may be ...
i've got kids and i can see that they all have interests in different
things ... and if nurtured those interests will turn into talent.
St. Ansel declared that he needed to make 10,000 negatives before he made good photographs. Granted, this was in the days of large format negatives where producing 10,000 negatives would be a considerable task. At that point, one would surely be a very technically competent creator of negatives. The question of what was on each negative is the more important question.
I would assume that artistic ability falls under some form of "bell curve" for distribution in a population. If one recognizes ones' ability and pushes it through hard work, I would imagine one could improve beyond ones' natural ability. Likewise, we all mourn great talents that have squandered what they have been given.
Yes, some skills are inborn, but those that work to develop them are better.
I can't say that Adams never said this - but I thought the actual quote "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" was attributed to HCB?
Originally Posted by Joe Lipka
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
Inborn talent exists, I believe.
Some have more, others have less.
Few have it all. The others just have to learn to work around it, if they are able to recognize it.
But no matter what, it needs long hard work anyway.
I know of a lot of talents in many fields gone waisted, because of lazyness, narcissism, war, drugs etc.
Nothing comes for free.
It is the same as luck. Everybody gets it. But what do you do when you find it. Do you see it ? do you use it and how ?
A very untalented person can get his photographs into papers and exhibitions of the day.
What is most important, in my view, is a combination of talents. Someone who has Adams-like talent but can't print or talk to people, goes along a different path.
And Mozart had a short and maybe unhappy life, exploiting maximally his talent, while living 4 lives at once.
He died in lonely poverty, but heralded in his own time and for centuries to come.
Last edited by AmsterdamMartin; 04-11-2010 at 10:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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I disagree with the quote. There's a consensus with many of the above posts, that "seeing" is learned, through practice. I believe -- together with other posters -- that everyone is born with innate talents; some come to realize which are to be nurtured and developed, others don't. But, just about everyone is born on an equal playing field. With any endeavor, creative or otherwise, one doesn't become proficient without practice, no matter with what they're born. So goes with music, writing, and the visual arts. When one works a craft/application hard enough, with certain determination -- through and through -- "talents" emerge.
I'm not a big fan of "ivory tower" quotes and pompous declarations (even by practitioners I admire). God knows, there's plenty of that throughout history. Prove yourself -- with integrity and work, through your craft -- first, to yourself, then an audience.
Good thread and much to think about on a lazy Sunday afternoon...
Don't know if it is really relevent but in sports one can see the naturally talented, the people who don't need to practice their skill - it just comes "naturally". In the UK, thinking of footballers such as Best, Gasgoine, Beckham. Their skill could be applied better through practice but other competent/good footballers would rarely get close to their skill level through practice.
Does that relate to photographers? Not sure! The theory of visual design or technicalities of photography can be taught and generally understood by anybody - like the theory of kicking a ball but what elevates the technically perfect photo or visually "correct" image into something that "means" something to the viewer is, I believe, an inate sense of vision.
Perhaps it is a case of knowing why the photo is taken rather than just here is a photo of "x". I have in mind a couple of photographers who shot a series on watertowers (don't recall their names) but the pictures seemed to be more than just a set of watertowers. Hmm, don't think I have answered the question or kept on point (!), oh dear..
In my case there are several things that I think helped my photography. The biggest think was to stop obsessing over camera gear. Shooting digital taught me that I needed to have every new camera because of the new upgrades: Number of pixels, bigger LCD, anti shake, wireless this and auto this. Finally, I shot a roll of film in a thrift store camera. Wow, I got great results. I started shooting more and more film and less digital. Then I stopped NEEDING gear. My most popular photo was shot last year with a FED2 rangefinder while I was out doing a test roll. I didn't have a light meter with me so I guessed.
I turned my attention to seeing light and exposure, composition and every time I shot - I tried to avoid the mistakes that I made in the last roll.This has helped me to shoot better. I fire the shutter less often now. Most of the time I go with 12 shots on the roll. I wait for the moments that I want.
Bernd and Hilla Becher.
Originally Posted by Sim2
Defining someone as talented is a purely subjective exercise.
Sorry to all you classical music lovers but Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etcetera... suck. Their work, and almost all of their followers work, is truly boring. It may be technically astute but so what.
Jimmy Buffet, Abba, Pick Floyd, the Beetles, and Olivia Newton John on the other hand... now we are talking talent.
Ansel is okay, I can learn lots about the craft from his work, but I'm not an F64 type of guy.
Elliot Erwitt and HCB were, and Phil Borges, Joe McNally, and Jose Villa are more "talented", by my estimation, at creating engaging photos then Ansel ever was.
My point is that our preferences define who we each think has talent.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin