What is your philosophy on creating?

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Amazing, beautiful light solves everything. Talent is not learned.

— Amy Berkley, DOP

via Chris Crisman Blog.

There Are 13 Comments On This Article.

  1. Huh? So by that logic, “amazing, beautiful light” guarantees a compelling composition? But only if you’re born talented? Or… born with a talent for creating beautiful lighting? What are you trying to say, exactly? :-)

    “Talent” is a misused word, to imply that some people are “born with skills, they just have to grow into them”. That’s a crock. Talent simply means some people pick up certain skills and abilities more quickly than others, but all of them have to be learned and honed.

    Occasionally we cross paths with someone that has truly amazing gifts even from a young age, but 99.999% of the time those “talented professionals” (in any venue, including sports most of the time) acquired their talent through endless practice. To wit: Tiger Woods may be endowed with great eye-hand coordination, but he also had a golf club in his hand at two years old and never rarely put it down. He spent his entire childhood swinging golf clubs. Literally. Which do you think is the bigger contributor to his success? The “talent”, or the practice?

    Innate intelligence, natural coordination, etc don’t amount to anything, in any field (art included), unless they are applied with continuous practice and learning.

  2. @Dan: “Talent is overrated” book talks exactly about this. It describes an extensive research that shows that the great part of achievements of “talented” people is due to persistence and practice, not to some natural skills.

  3. Amy Berkley

    Of course talent has to be honed and practiced. But if you are a bad photographer, dancer, musician to begin with all the practice and honing in the world can’t make you better than those who do have an innate ability to see a great shot or know how to light.

    Tiger Woods is a great golfer because he grew up with a golf club in his hands and practiced 24/7 I agree…. but I also think that there are guys out there who had a golf club in theirs hands at age 2 and are now accountants. So is that the little space that “talent” or born ability fits into?

    Unique is also an overused word, I must be careful with that one.

    Thanks for the thoughts,

  4. Anyone can learn anything and be great at it if they apply themselves and have drive. Everyone is different and some may not be as good as other. Just remember, the “talent” is subjective to whom it is being applied and by who applies that term.

    To some, I’m a talented artist who’s abilities span hand drawing, painting, carving, photography, etc. To others, I’m a wanna-be who produces piles of crap. See, subjective.

    In the end, who really cares? More people than should Id wager!

  5. Really, WTF? Talent means nothing? That is a really narrow focus on how great photography is made. It is and isn’t about the light. If you have a crap respective/angle/view/model/location/makeup etc…. even the best light in the world won’t make it a great picture, it will just be a well lit crappy picture, it takes talent to see what will make a great image. I takes talent period. I have to disagree with with the assumption that “talent”is over used, if there is an underlying talent and love for what the individual is pursuing then there is not going to be any success. Since he is used as an example, do you think Tiger Woods would have continued to pursue golf if he had lousy hand eye coordination and played like the average American. I doubt it. There are certain aspect of being a photographer such as business management that can be outsourced. JMHO

  6. I just spent an evening with a friend who perused my fine art photography website, full of ‘artful’ images and then he proudly shows me his iPad, full of his vacation shots of the pyramids in Egypt and is so proud of his totally banal, lifeless photos. He believes that our talent is just about equal because of his amazing light. So, who’s got the answer? He really believes he’s an artist. Go know!

  7. Amy Berkley

    It is all very subjective. I wasn’t saying lighting is the only thing needed to make a good image. The way someone sees the world and frames an image, and gets emotion and all that…..we really are all agreeing here. Just saying it in different ways. I do think that talent is part of it though whatever definition of talent you agree with or what % of talent plays into making a successful image. Lots of amazing photographers out there. There are a lot of people out there who enjoy taking photos, and it is a hobby. That is ok, they can be proud of their work, but I agree, just because lighting is good in both doesn’t mean the images are equal. I am a sucker for amazing light and for me it can be a simple image of an object and I will love it, or it can be an amazing moment. It really all depends, image to image, as I see it. Thanks, A

  8. The fashion scene is filled with amazing light, and most of the images are still vapid.

  9. First off folks, when Amy says it’s all about the light, do you think she means a wonderfully lit picture that’s poorly composed and out of focus is a masterpiece? I think she means light is really important. Most photographers who are exceptional at lighting can compose an image and capture a moment, at least halfway decently. I won’t say it’s necessarily true the other way around.

    Next, take where she works. A business magazine. That’s full of not-photogenic people who won’t give you the time of day and live in horrible cookie cutter offices in the sky. Most of the time, you’re not getting a decisive moment from them and you’re not picking your location, and they’re wearing what they’re wearing. What you’ve got to make that shot is light. Not light that makes your 20 year old sun tanned assistant look shiny and attractive and powerful..light that still looks good on that 55 year old, chinese take out eating, no sun getting, face made for radio executive.

    In fashion, you got your Raymond Meiers and you got your Juergen Tellers. Good light, bad light, all compelling images, if you’re into that sort of stuff. That range of lighting comes with the gift of subject matter. Business portraits and others like it, better start lighting like a champ.