Talent is Not Enough
Beginner - Did I show talent? Honestly, not much
I attended a local high school production of West Side Story recently and heard several comments about the "incredible talent" of these young performers. I agree that these students have talent. Without some talent no-one really can rise to the level seen in this production. I, for example, could never do what they did due to a major lack of musical talent. However, I think too much is made of talent. I like to look at it more in the light of skill.
I define talent as an inborn ability or proclivity for a particular endeavor. Skill, to me, is the development of that talent through passion and hard work into a high level of expertise or ability. I have received kudos for my own talent as a photographer and for sharing that talent with the community. However I am prouder of the development of my skill than I am of any talent I may have started with.
Intermediate - I start to show some skill development, but still am not at a high level yet
In the 12 years since I first took up photography I admit to making great strides in my skill level. I think I must have some amount of talent, but if you look at the photos in this post I think you will agree that it was rudimentary at best. I believe that only those who have a passion for a particular activity will be willing to put in the long, hard work necessary to develop the skill that will produce the praise for their "incredible talent".
I have included a set of three photos here that show how my own photography has developed from rank beginner through intermediate to the level I am at today. I don't think that I started with any high level of talent. However, I do believe that because I have a true passion for both sports and photography I was, and continue to be, willing to put in the time and effort to develop my skills to the point where I can claim to be a pretty good photographer.
Current - I will never stop trying to improve, but I am proud of how far I have come
So, I too applaud those fine young performers in the play. But I recognize that it wasn't talent alone that made the performance such a treat for the audience. I know that it was the passion they feel for music and dance that motivated them to put in the long, hard work necessary to develop their talent into a high level of skill that was recognized by those in attendance.
I can't wait for Sunday when I will venture to the other side of town for a production of Fiddle on the Roof to enjoy some more students with "incredible talent".