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Author Topic: Where is the discussion of "Vision" in part 2?  (Read 6948 times)
dreed
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« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2013, 06:26:14 PM »
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Dreed I didn't expect anything. Did you see the smiley? Anyways why do you think you are entitled to lecture anyone? Shocked

Sorry, I didn't mean to lecture, I was trying to help by saying that if you want to commit things to memory, there are techniques that can be used that will assist/work.
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stamper
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« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2013, 03:10:16 AM »
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No problem. I accept that there are ways to learn. Personally I look at something I decide if it is interesting and decide if there is a practical benefit to it. If so I learn a little and put it into practise and then learn some more and then more practise. I find that I cannot follow the technique of cramming. Probably an age thing. Everybody has their different ways of doing things and unfortunately there are competing interests such as eating, sleeping and household chores.  Wink Smiley
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Rob C
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« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2013, 08:59:11 AM »
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No problem. I accept that there are ways to learn. Personally I look at something I decide if it is interesting and decide if there is a practical benefit to it. If so I learn a little and put it into practise and then learn some more and then more practise. I find that I cannot follow the technique of cramming. Probably an age thing. Everybody has their different ways of doing things and unfortunately there are competing interests such as eating, sleeping and household chores.  Wink Smiley


Have you found that too?

Add in getting up - which takes more than a little time and courage when it's cold; take time out for a shower and then it's time to go eat lunch. I feel we are getting short-changed in the hours deal. Worst of all is when I have to do a washing: if I don't get it hung out to dry before I depart to eat, it dries crinkled, and I absolutely hate the iron. Or it doesn't dry at all and has to be brought indoors overnight... it's so ugly.

Thirty years ago we learned not to leave stuff out at night: we had a knicker-knocker who used to take adult pants and replace them with those of a child... he did the same with swimsuits. Our next-door neighbour heard him on her terrace one night, peeped through the curtains just in time to see him lay her swimsuit out on the tiles and start to lie on top of it. She banged the glass and, apparently, he shot away like a hare.

But he or a close friend didn't stop visiting for some years. We knew better, but tourists used to ignore the warnings and lose lots of stuff. The thing is, our Alsabrador didn't bark, so I wonder if it was someone we actually knew.

Rob C
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John Camp
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« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2013, 01:08:02 PM »
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This is kinda like Déjà vu all over again...or like an acid flashback

Jeez...it...it sorta is, isn't it?

But, to wrench this thread back on the original topic, which was Rob's inability to either sing or play the guitar...no wait, that wasn't it.

To wrench this thread back to the original topic, I find that the reason I don't look long at most photographs or paintings, is simply that they lack thought. Technique isn't a problem. Technique can pretty much be had in a year or so of serious study, but once they have it, many would-be fine art photographers don't know what to do with it, because they don't have any ideas that would be expressed as art. When they think about photography, they think about technique or mechanics -- and when they go out and shoot, they get their ideas from somebody else (on this forum, mostly from Ansel Adams.) What Alan tries to do from time to time, is to get people to consider that "thought" aspect of photography, but what he winds up doing is providing a list of *his* thoughts, which are taken from the point of view of a very specific kind of working life. That's fine, if you want a working life like his, but it'd be much better if you invented these thoughts, and that list, on your own, because then the list would be different and it would be yours.

I would suggest that Alan is more a commercial artist than a fine art photographer. That is, he's running a business focused on sales, in which the product is a photograph done in a specific genre made to be pleasing to a specific kind of customer. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion -- I make my living doing something analogous to that. A serious fine art photographer, though, is more focused on a vision of the world based in a personal philosophy without regard to sales, because a focus on sales is automatically distorting. That is, you start to cater to something besides your own vision. That's why a lot of fine artists wind up poor, or dependent on part-time teaching gigs or grants. It's true that some of them -- a vanishing small number of them -- wind up doing very well with sales, but that's almost despite themselves, rather than as part of a plan.

I think photography appeals to techies because it seems to be an "art form" that is accessible to them, and that can be acquired though the study of the kinds of things that techies like to study anyway: sensor responses, db's (whatever those are), color depth, blah blah blah blah...But they're wrong. All they're acquiring is technique, and maybe a really, really good camera, maybe even (for the next ten minutes) the "best camera." But they're not learning about art. They should be looking at Jeff Wall, but instead, they study that test site, whatever it is, the one with the company with initials for a name.

I essentially have no problem with what anybody wants to do with their spare time, as long as it doesn't involve blowing people up. If folks enjoy buying and testing cameras, or replicating Ansel Adams photos, that's fine with me, but I think it would be best if a person tried not be be confused about what he/she is doing. And buying the "best" camera is not going to buy you art, and studying technique won't make you a fine artist, and operating out of somebody else's laundry list of art approaches won't do it, either. 
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Rob C
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« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2013, 03:46:31 PM »
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You see, John? It really was about my inablity to sing or play musical instruments.

I projected myself as but a musical metaphor for the failures of so many to be talented in a chosen wish-world.

It will always be thus: you can or you can't; the way out of it is to realise early what you have going for yourself and what you have not.

Rob C

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Sharon Van Lieu
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« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2013, 04:44:19 PM »
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Doh! I just realized it's 10,000 hours not 10,000 dollars. rats...

What will happen if you guys merge the 10,000 hour and "is it art?" arguments? I shutter to think.  Wink
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David Sutton
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« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2013, 04:50:03 PM »
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A thoughtful reply John. To what I'm not sure as I've lost track of the thread. To add to what you have said, many photographers I know who do interesting images have an idea and just go out to see if they can make it happen. As far as the tech side goes, they just want it to work. With all the acquired  technique and gear, most will at some time have to say "stuff that" and find a work-around that goes against "orthodoxy" but gives them what they see in the mind's eye.
For my part, the gear and tech is fun but fully engaging the imagination, problem solving with what I have and getting out and doing it is better. Who knows if it's art. On the other hand who cares?
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John Camp
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« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2013, 05:00:44 PM »
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No, Rob, I disagree. I really do think a person can teach himself to be a great artist, if he has the will. Look at Cezanne. Here's a guy who had no obvious early talent, no obvious midlife talent, and yet, by the end of his life he was being considered by many (including me) to be an absolutely pivotal artist in the whole history of art. Even Degas, who was an early bloomer and a genius with a pencil, considered Cezanne to be something far beyond the ordinary -- yet even at the end, after fifty years of hard work, Cezanne couldn't draw. What he did was stay with painting, day after day, to keep his brain alive, and eventually, found what he was doing.

I think what you consider to be talent is simply a wide band of learning effects which, in the case of the talented, often are gotten early in life. That is, a child, because he is told to do it,  draws inside the lines, and somebody tells him or her, when she's three, gee, you're talented. That approval pushes the kid, who then gets better, and that results in a further push, and special attention, and the kid excels in drawing. It's a way of seeking status and approval. The interesting question is, can this be done when you're old? Some old artists (Rembrandt and Cezanne, among others) experienced a final blossoming in old age, in which their art moved to new levels. So, I think it's possible, but I'm not sure. I would agree that some basic physical requirements have to be met for top talents: for a photographer, you need good vision, intelligence, access to equipment, and so on. But I don't really think there there are great photographers wandering around, undiscovered, because they don't have access to the equipment. Access to the equipment is a prerequisite, in a way, to becoming talented. I've been told by a number of artists that if you can write with a pencil, you can learn to draw very, very well. Because of its use as a message carrier, drawing was once taught at West Point, and all the graduating students were expected to be at least capable (That's where Whistler got early instruction, before he was dismissed after failing chemistry, which generated a great later quote -- "If silicon were a gas, I'd be a general now.")

By the way, even you can learn to sing. I was once asked to leave the eighth grade choir because of my honking, but now I can sing certain kinds of songs reasonably well. What you need is music you like, sung in a range you can imitate, and then just try to match what the other voice is doing -- sing in harmony with it. Some people do this naturally. Other people have to do it as an intellectual thing, but it can be done.  
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kencameron
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« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2013, 05:25:31 PM »
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By the way, even you can learn to sing. I was once asked to leave the eighth grade choir because of my honking, but now I can sing certain kinds of songs reasonably well. What you need is music you like, sung in a range you can imitate, and then just try to match what the other voice is doing -- sing in harmony with it. Some people do this naturally. Other people have to do it as an intellectual thing, but it can be done.  
As a lifelong honker one of whose children blames my genetic inheritance for the strange sounds she also makes when she "sings", I am encouraged by this. Do you have any references?

As for Rob's views on having it or not having it, I am puzzled by their latest expression. In relation to photography, he has always seemed to claim that hardly anyone has it, but in relation to music, being able to hold a tune or strum a chord seems to qualify. I conclude that his views are at least partly based on some deep-seated need to divide humanity into sheep and goats rather than on observation of the incidence and source of skills - and to locate himself on one or the other side of the divide. On the other hand, the opposite view - that everything can be taught/learned - might also have a source other than observation. It could be considered politically objectionable to accept gross inequality in the distribution of talent. As usual, I find myself somewhere in the confused middle on this one. Something is inherited and thus innate, but a lot can be learned.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2013, 05:56:56 PM »
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As a lifelong honker one of whose children blames my genetic inheritance for the strange sounds she also makes when she "sings", I am encouraged by this. Do you have any references?

As for Rob's views on having it or not having it, I am puzzled by their latest expression. In relation to photography, he has always seemed to claim that hardly anyone has it, but in relation to music, being able to hold a tune or strum a chord seems to qualify. I conclude that his views are at least partly based on some deep-seated need to divide humanity into sheep and goats rather than on observation of the incidence and source of skills - and to locate himself on one or the other side of the divide. On the other hand, the opposite view - that everything can be taught/learned - might also have a source other than observation. It could be considered politically objectionable to accept gross inequality in the distribution of talent. As usual, I find myself somewhere in the confused middle on this one. Something is inherited and thus innate, but a lot can be learned.

My experience is that most things can be taught or learned if you have the patience. That doesn't mean you will be in the top 100 in your field, or that critics will like your interpretation, but that is another matter.
I was one of those children who "honked" and was excluded from singing. Now as a professional music teacher, I know for me it is firstly a matter of knowing the range of my voice. Then getting the starting pitch. That's usually enough. If I wanted to take it further I would go to a singing teacher or begin by learning to sing intervals: thirds fifths etc. If you are having fun and haven't been taught to be stressed about what you are doing, and haven't been taught that you have to do it "right", it will often come out well enough.
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kencameron
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« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2013, 06:02:07 PM »
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To wrench this thread back to the original topic, I find that the reason I don't look long at most photographs or paintings, is simply that they lack thought.  

OK (for me), but only on a special definition of "thought". One might equally say "simply that they lack emotion" or "simply that they lack originality" or "simply that they lack beauty" or maybe even "simply that they lack soul". If art is technique plus something, then the something is not just about an idea. When Renoir "painted with his prick" (the relevant quotation seems not to be apocryphal) is wasn't an idea that he was adding to technique. And the photographer who tries to recreate Ansel Adams is very much operating with an idea - the idea that Ansel's way was the true way.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2013, 06:03:58 PM »
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Something is inherited and thus innate, but a lot can be learned.
This sums it up nicely, IMHO.
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Isaac
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« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2013, 08:07:01 PM »
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By the way, even you can learn to sing. I was once asked to leave the eighth grade choir because...

Is this the same John Camp who found the previous digression into "Rob's inability to either sing or play the guitar" worth mocking? :-)
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John Camp
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« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2013, 10:12:30 PM »
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As a lifelong honker one of whose children blames my genetic inheritance for the strange sounds she also makes when she "sings", I am encouraged by this. Do you have any references?

You know, I don't. And I find the comment from David Sutton to be quite encouraging. What I did was, after years of listening to rock music, I started listening to country, which is much less dependent on instrumentals, and requires less extreme voices, and tends more to "story telling." Although the lyrics can be just as stupid as rock, especially with pop hits in either genre, some of the lyrics are really good. And as David mentions, I found that my voice tends to fit in about the same range as a lot of male country singers, so that took out one problem. I mean, I suspect as hard as I tried, I was never going to sing like Prince. So I found some guys who I like, almost all from Texas, like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson and a few others, and began singing along. At first I was pretty terrible at it, but as David says, if you actually try (and this is a testing, intellectual process for me, rather than instinctive) you can match the starting pitch, and then just go with it, trying to stay in tune with the model. It's a struggle at first, best done in your car when you're alone, but eventually, you find you can sing whole songs without losing too much. (I can even remember the first song I could sing all the way through, without losing it: "Dublin Blues," by Guy Clark.) Then the final test is to sing the song acapella, in your house (showers are good) without losing the thread. The thing is, if you enjoy singing a bit, you can manage to get it; it's just a struggle for those of us without the instinct. By the way, I find that people who can't sing well often have another related talent -- they can often speak well, as in making formal speeches. It's as though when growing up, they emphasized a different form of sound-making. But that may be bullshit. :-)

By the way, I also find that if I'm singing and there's somebody else around, and I see them paying attention to me, I start to lose it badly, and then just let it go, being "funny," as a defense against being judged simply "bad." You've got to resist that, and try to stay with it, even when others are listening. But I'd bet your daughter has that problem, too. 

Ken, about Renoir, when I talk about painting or photographing with an idea, I'm also talking about painting with an emotion because painting anything well goes far beyond just slapping down the paint. You experience a strong emotion and then you go about figuring out how to express it in your art form, which means you have to get down to the very tiny specifics of your art form, while at the same time, keeping the overall idea in mind. "I'm going to paint a hot chick because she turns my crank" is, in my mind, a very specific idea. "I'm going to paint this chick because Renoir painted chicks and they came out hot" is an imitation. Renoir was right up against the concept; the imitator is two steps away from it.

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Michael West
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« Reply #54 on: May 02, 2013, 10:37:18 PM »
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what part of"

10 - Talking about art means using the vocabulary of art
All professions use a specific vocabulary.  Artists use the vocabulary of art to communicate with each other and with their audience.  Without it we cannot talk knowledgeably about art.  Unfortunately, most photographers only use the vocabulary of photographic technique.  While this is an important vocabulary, using it exclusively will not result in the creation of art.

11 - Creating art means using fundamental artistic concepts
This means we have to learn what these fundamental concepts are, how to use them and why.  These concepts include visual metaphors, color palette, hue, saturation, luminosity, movement, facture, composition, light, exposure, format, style, color, harmonies, coherence, hyperbole, symbolism, exaggeration, simplification, negative space, minimalism and more.

appears rambling??? 

I found the article to cover "things" concisely and rather exhaustively

perhaps  the terms in the second of the 2 paragraphs I quoted escaped the  readers.."attention"

Another Rambling Old Man who wistfully remembers when language was far more ELEGANT..and far less fragmented and polluted

Photographs are a Language arent all arent they,
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kencameron
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« Reply #55 on: May 02, 2013, 10:51:05 PM »
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Ken, about Renoir, when I talk about painting or photographing with an idea, I'm also talking about painting with an emotion ..."I'm going to paint a hot chick because she turns my crank" is, in my mind, a very specific idea. "I'm going to paint this chick because Renoir painted chicks and they came out hot" is an imitation. Renoir was right up against the concept; the imitator is two steps away from it.
I think we mostly agree. My quibble is really only that "idea" suggests a distinction between mind and emotion, and maybe also mind and body, that I consider misconcieved. Also maybe that Renoir didn't think "I am going to paint because...." but rather felt as he painted (and painted as he felt).
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #56 on: May 02, 2013, 11:22:25 PM »
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Why not look at it in this way:

  • What you can do for yourself
  • What you can do for others

I fully agree with John Camp that an artist can be made. If one uses oneself as a benchmark, and strive to get better every day (by defining 'better' as he/she see fit), one will attain mastery over whatever it is one wanted to excel in. You can excel in singing, art, photography and solving third-degree differential equations.

I've always believed an artist must know when he or she has created a work of art that satisfies the artist. It's a single-element feedback system that builds upon itself.

Isn't this totally different from an artist who looks to please others and creates art that tries to 'resonate' with a target audience or market segment or customers, etc.? In my eyes this isn't very different from building commodities like the iMac, a Ferrari, a perfume like Chanel No.5, a Versace suit, or a Leica camera. These require artistry, but of several different kinds. The feedback loop is no longer based on one element, but requires the input and blessings of the target audience at every level.

Looking at it in this context, the 10,000 hours rule (which I simply interpret has having to spend many thousands of hours of one's waking life, not distracted and unhindered, on an activity or pursuit or skill) could have two meanings:

For yourself: Nothing, except that you have to keep going until you please yourself, and then you do it all over again.
For others: Nothing, because nobody cares about the effort. It's only the commodity that matters.

Regarding practicing a skill, it depends on what the skill is. If it's simple, like advanced mathematics, all you need is pen and paper. But if it's nuclear physics, you'll need a lot of extra support.

Similarly, for me, being a filmmaker, I can't make the simplest of videos without the help of at least one other person, while a photographer can walk out and shoot all by himself/herself. Who defines talent and authority and mastery? I do, in my case. Most of my teachers were wrong about who I am or what I was capable of. I no longer listen to anyone who tells me something can't be done. I know I cannot pass on this 'state of mind' to another, so it is intrinsically my own.

As an aside, I wrote this article a few months ago: Film Directors and the Number 8. It's not scientific (like the 10,000 rule) but it is based on something that caught by eye over the years - the 'fact' that it takes about 8 movies for a great director to produce his or her 'public masterpiece'. In the end, I reference the 10,000 rule as well.
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stamper
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« Reply #57 on: May 03, 2013, 03:54:17 AM »
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This is turning out to be a very informative thread, especially Rob's story of the knicker - knocker. I never thought that a story like that would appear in a thread about photographic art. Smiley It is one of the few threads on here that actually makes you think about what is being stated and I await more posts that is thought provoking.
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Rob C
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« Reply #58 on: May 03, 2013, 07:32:45 AM »
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You see, stamper, as one ages the more one realises that everything is connected.

Around thirty years ago I heard a horse's mouth tale concerning a neighbour of ours; today, having lunch, the restaurateur whispered to me that the group at a nearby table was connected to another party that he knows that I know from way back when. Turned out the fellow diner was the estranged brother to the neighbour; on my way bout I wandered over to say hell. I wonder what his thoughts were... did I know the tale, did I not? Did he care?

I remember when I was a kid in India that, along with the US car culture, there were also lots of Marvel comics etc. and in one of those things was a wonderful line: commit a crime and the world is made of glass. I was about twelve? Never forgot that, but remember few of the biblical quotations that were foist upon us in the day. No crime, of course, on the part of the neighbour, but one sonofabitch act.

It's a spinning circle. And we all eventually get pulled into the whirl.

Rob C
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Isaac
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« Reply #59 on: May 03, 2013, 07:03:39 PM »
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That is, a child, because he is told to do it,  draws inside the lines, and somebody tells him or her, when she's three, gee, you're talented. That approval pushes the kid...

fwiw Babies whose efforts are praised become more motivated kids, say Stanford researchers
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