I known some posters here do not believe in talent is being burn with.
You may be talking about me; if so you're partially correct. I think this discussion is fairly important because these ideas affect the way we move through life, and how we treat others, as well as how we treat ourselves. I absolutely agree that we're born with differences. Some you mentioned above, others I'll note here:
- Some males are born with a genetic condition that gives them a diminished ability to distinguish between green and red
- There is speculation (so far, I believe, not accepted by the scientific community) that some females are born with an enhanced ability to discern color.
- Some are born with hearing deficiencies, or even completely deaf; others have conditions that give them superior hearing (e.g. Williams syndrome)
- Some are born with genetic defects that prevent them from developing full cognitive abilities, e.g. Down's Syndrome or autism. (Yes, I know autism isn't purely genetic, but there's a strong correlation)
But the notion of "talent" does not refer to a mere enhancement of one, or even a small number, of normal abilities, it is much more complex than that. For most people, "artistic talent" refers to some predisposition towards creating works that are perceived, by a subjective audience, as having certain very desirable qualities. Let me motivate my argument with a few examples:
- Consider some of the "talented" 20th century abstract painters: how would their works have been perceived in, say, pre-Renaissance Europe? They would have been considered childish scratchings, and the "artists" would have been advised (or compelled) to take up another line of work.
- How about the singing of Robert Plant? Is that talent or noise?
- How about the many artists who were not beloved until after their death? Their contemporaries judged them to be without (much) talent.
- Now how about yourself, Rocky: I gather from your writing that you're not a native speaker of English. (Let me digress briefly to say that I wish I could write in any foreign language as well as you write in English.) Do you write English imperfectly because you don't have talent for it? How about me? I don't speak, for example, Mandarin. I could probably learn some, but would never be fluent enough to pass the "telephone test." Do I not have a talent for it? If you had been born in an English-speaking country, you would be fluent, and I would be fluent in Mandarin if I had been born into that language.
That's enough preamble, now on to my argument: as a practical matter, "talent" is merely a skill that you learned without knowing it. Could there be some genetic predisposition? Quite likely, but we have no way to know. Because the final product is such a blend of innate ability, early learning, developed skill, life experience, opportunity, and even interest, there is simply no way to extract that element called "innate talent," and hold it up to the light for all to admire. In a sense, "talent" is only recognizable in hindsight. If we see someone who creates a piece we like, we can say he is "talented." If we see a child who shows promise early in life, but never advances beyond a certain stage, we can say "he wasted his talent." The problem is we really don't know either of those for certain. Furthermore, if we see a middle-aged woman who has struggled and given great effort to create art, but never succeeded, we may say she lacks talent. But what, then, if suddenly she starts to create high-quality work? This does happen, though not frequently because many would eventually give up on something they find too challenging. Would we then say that she always had the "latent talent" (I just love that anagram) but needed the opportunity to express it? What if she had died or given up before she developed those skills? She would have been judged to be without innate talent.
To repeat and summarize: as a practical matter, the judgment of talent can only be done in retrospect, as in "he has not yet shown talent for photography." You can't really say "he will never..." because there are some people who do show ability later in life. Furthermore, if you now ascribe to those late-bloomers the quality of "latent talent" then you find yourself in a logical fallacy. (This particular fallacy is known as the "no true Scotsman fallacy" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_scotsman
Why is this important, and why have I wasted half an hour writing about it? Because art is about enjoying and appreciating life, in its many different aspects. It simply does not matter if a certain person doesn't create admirable or compelling photographic images, it's only important that he/she enjoy the process of trying. Personally, I believe most people are born with "artistic talent," but circumstances take each in a different direction. As regards photography I'll repeat a quote someone else posted recently:
"A camera is a tool to teach you how to see without a camera." Dorothea Lange
Really, that's what matters.