Zero Talent

Based on my background and interests, I am often involved in discussions about science and photography. I have learned that scientists often say things like, “I’m not a photographer. I don’t have the talent for it.” Conversely, photographers often say things like, “I’m not a scientist. I don’t have the talent for it.” The underlying assumption in both statements is that there is some inherent talent or gift required to be a photographer or a scientist.

I saw something in a colleague’s office earlier this week at work and it made me think of these discussions. Scribbled onto a whiteboard, my colleague had written a list of things that don’t require talent. At the top, the list began with “Ten things that don’t require talent.” I was struck by the list and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I asked him where he got it and he couldn’t remember. As I thought about it, I combined a couple of the items on the list and came up with my own list of eight things that don’t require talent. I’ve included my list here. Take a look at it and tell me I’m wrong. OK, I thought so.

Now, go out and be a photographer. Be a scientist. Be both.

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