Maria Montessori believed that everyone is born knowing exactly what they came here to do. She instructed her teachers to watch children and encourage their interests. If a child loved a particular activity, Montessori would give them more opportunities to practice and grow that interest. She would encourage their passion to fulfill their destiny.
I think some of us are born knowing exactly what we are meant to do. We have a natural inclination or gift toward a certain profession or calling. Others discover their interest later on and regardless of whether they have natural skill, they have a passion to learn. That's me. I found a passion for photography. It didn't come naturally. I had to study...a lot. I read everything I could find from books to blogs. I found mentors and asked questions. I took classes and created a daily practice. Yep...I took a photograph a day for three years. And each image was taken on manual mode with my camera which required me to think through the exposure triangle, my story, and my focus. Some days were more successful than others in the image it produced but, regardless of the result, the process was the intention.
Recently, I was watching a baby who was learning to walk. We are born naturally designed to walk, although it doesn't come easy. This child pushed herself up, stumbled a few steps and fell. Then pushed herself back up and tried again. If you are a photographer or the family historian, I encourage you to practice the art of photography. Learn how your camera works and practice. Take a photo a day for a week or month or year. See what kind of stories you want to tell. If you fail and miss focus or your exposure is off, get up and try again.
I used to teach preschool and I would tell the parents, "Process not product," encouraging them to embrace the process of learning rather than the product it created.
Process not product...photography friends! What process can you start today? What can you practice today that will help you make better images tomorrow? And, whether you consider yourself a naturally gifted photographer or someone spurred by passion rather than skill, I encourage you to just keep making images. Keep experimenting and learning. We all started some where.