I hear a lot about talent. So-and-So is hugely talented, they say, and that explains why their art is so damn good. I think the whole talent thing is a myth. At least, I think that talent is vastly over-rated.
Let's suppose that we say that someone has 'talent' or 'natural ability' when they start out the learning process ahead of most folks. That's nice, isn't it? They get a head start. A head start implies that they have an advantage when it comes to winning the race. Empirically, we can see this - some folks DO seem to have a head start - they made their first photos at four years old, they were using a view camera at 7 years old, and they got their first solo show at the age of 10.
If you start out with natural aptitude, well, that's nice. But the myth is that talent is a substitute for hard work, and that just isn't so. My observation, based on knowing quite a few 'talented' folks, is that what talent bought them was a head start in an effort where the big issue is staying engaged when the going gets tough. Talent got them past the first 100 yards in an effort on the scale of a marathon. The rest of the distance, it was just hard work. The adage is that the harder you work, the luckier you get, and that's completely true.
But more importantly, photography and art aren't a race, are they? I mean, I suppose if you want to be recognized as the world's best photographer, then talent might be important. But most of us aren't vying for that particular prize. If we're aiming for a prize at all, it's much more likely to be the 'most improved player' award.
In the end, it comes down to this: do the best work you can. Talent or no talent, that's all any of us can do. If you feel like you've got talent - hey, good on you, mate. If you feel like you've got no talent at all, and it's all hard work - welcome to the club - just rest assured that there are NO people who live in that elysian realm where the work just flows out of you like water from a fountain. Even the super-successful 'talented' folks have to struggle - doing your best is hard work, no matter where you are in the chain of progress, and no matter where you started.