Thursday, February 10, 2011

The talented ones - or just salemanship?

There were several interesting comments to the "seeing the forest" posting at Plop. This caught my eye: “Technique can be practiced, but what really counts cannot. You either experience it or you don’t.”

I find this statement hard to swallow. Either I don’t get it, or then the statement is just too generic and vague to have any meaning for me.

I have been reading a book containing 100 exercises for writers (it is in Finnish), and there are interesting statements from a dozen writers on their approach to writing. None of them stresses the “experience” factor, all say they need to get to the practice of writing by any means that works, and the only way is just to write.

There is no “inspiration” in itself, only the doing of the thing. You have to write some words each day. Sometimes the result is garbage, sometimes it is worth polishing further. But there is no special skill or knack, just the doing of the thing, day after day after day...

Whenever someone says that there is a special talent you need to have to make art, and that some have it and some not, I feel there is an act of salesmanship going on.

Namely, from the time of cave paintings and performances around the fire people have been using the story of “inspiration”, “the Muse”, and things of that kind as a way of hooking their audience – and getting a better price for the act. These days some are rather good at this, even some photographers.

But who knows, one of these days I might yet get the insight and learn to be creative. After succeeding in that that I might try my hand in something demanding, such as management.

But anyway, here are four photographs taken today. A busy day. And did I say we are having cold weather? Yes we do.


Colin Griffiths said...

I've got a quote right here next to my computer:

"If you can't excel with talent, triumph with effort"
Dave Weinbaum

I really believe in that, and in another shorter saying of "the fun is in the effort".

I didn't think I was a talented athlete (and I still don't) but after a HUGE amount of effort and DEDICATION I became a British national cycling champion at the age of 50 and won 5 medals at national championship level. I don't understand the saying in your post either, nor do I subscribe to it one little bit (in other words I think it's utter nonsense), but I do believe in "practice makes perfect" whether it's art or anything else.

David said...

I find your writing on this subject inspired. By which I mean that you are passionate about it and partisan - you have a point of view and you express it forcefully.

Anonymous said...

Salesmanship does not require talent? Nothing happens unless there's a sale. Try sales for a year and you might just find yourself singing a different tune.


Richard said...

I tend to think the truth is somewhere in between and success is a matter of effort+talent. Whichever combination applies to you, today it came to the fore. Great photos. Must be because the sun's out!

Juha Haataja said...

@Colin: Great examples! The saying "the fun is in the effort" is a good one.

@David: I guess I got a bit heated up, but that is good in winter, isn't it?

@Anonymous: You made my daily posting...

@Richard: Indeed, it is good to see the sun, that strange phenomenon on the sky.