Blog #81 Talent is Nothing
In this week’s blog post, I would like to address the topic of talent. Every once in a while someone like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart grazes us all with his presence. True genius especially in the creative arts is rare. Nevertheless, there are many talented artists. When we gaze upon the work of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Alex Webb, to name a few, we can’t help but use the word talented to describe these photographers.
What happens next is that we falsely conclude that these folks were born with some sort of instinctual ability to make gorgeous draw-dropping images with a camera.
“You either got it or you don’t”, we conclude.
Some thing critical is missing from our simple analysis. These folks got to where they are through tons of hard work. Upon seeing a finished work of photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, or novel we are completely removed from any understanding or appreciation of the years and decades of elbow grease that inevitably came before and resulted in the piece in front of us.
We do not see the thousands of behaviors and long nights that lead the artist to that point in their creative career. It’s all there, you just can’t see it. Therefore, we conclude, incorrectly, that talent is what caused this artist to create good art.
Talent is a null word. It’s the summation of countless hours of literally blood, sweat, and tears. How do Olympic athletes get that way? They work their asses off for it, that’s how. Hard work breeds success. Talent is nothing.
The light is always right.
*The images below are original and from the September 2017 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride in Hong Kong, a fund raiser event for Men's Health and Prostate Cancer*