As to 'following', the march around the globe to so many of the same sites by so many photographers makes the appearance of emulation more likely even if it isn't actually the case. Having pretty much chewed the Yosemite, Death Valley, Utah and Pacific coast sites to soft, easy to swallow pap, the hadj seems to continue to Japan, mainland Asia, Iceland, Tuscany etc.
One aspect of Bill's work I truly appreciate is that in spite of making some of the obligatory pilgrimages, he also pulls wonderful imagery from what's close at hand where he lives. Maybe other photogs will follow him home! :D
In regards to travel it's easy to say that you don't need to travel far when you live in an area that has the kind of subject matter you like and has plenty of opportunities to shoot them. I live in largely populated suburb of NYC yet love snow capped mountains, deserts and minimal, open plains. There just isn't much of that around here. So do I choose to shoot subject matter that doesn't interest me or do I go to the places that do interest me?
To say that photographers who travel are "a dime a dozen" is just being judgemental and denigrating about the choice of subject that someone else chooses.
Also the whole who is copying Kenna thing is a can of worms. Kenna didn't create minimal landscape, he's not the first to shoot trees in snow or poles in water. What he did do was bring it to a very refined level and make it very visible. While I'm sure that there are people who Kenna has influenced to a large degree, but the longer you do photography, and the more your personal commtiment is to it, the more your work will begin to become unique to you.
One aspect of Bill's work I truly appreciate is that in spite of making some of the obligatory pilgrimages, he also pulls wonderful imagery from what's close at hand where he lives. Maybe other photogs will follow him home! :D[/QUOTE]
I think this is the essence of Bills' work and shows his true mastery. I mean if you can make what he makes with what he's looking at you are truly talented.
My personal work isn't even close to his quality level and it is interesting to note that my best most personal vision type work doesn't sell nearly as well as the cheesy waterfall type images. I shoot them and consider them to be commercial type images that otherwise I wouldn't really be making. The point being if you aren't in the highest quality creative level of the masters you have to shoot in a way that sells if you are to eat.
About 15 years ago when I was in my 'early retirement phase' (didn't get a steady full-time job until I was 32), my wife and I were nearly broke and Christmas was looming.
We used what little money we had for printing and framing supplies and I went out and took the cheesiest, most saccarine sweet, easy-on-the-eyes nature images I could muster. When they were printed up and displayed not one of the cheesy prints sold, just the images I was impelled to make by whatever force it is that tells me to stop and set up the camera were purchased.
Recently though, as in after my daughters birth, I've started a collection of local interest scenes. This came to mind as I was taking an image of snow covered rocks in a creek and I was also pondering how, with my salary, we would be able to afford things like fancy jeans for our daughter when she became a teenager.
As these things were rolling around in my head, I looked behind me and the snow covered bridge over the creek was bathed in sunset light, and a full moon was just above it. After taking my photograph I spun the camera around and took a triptych of the bridge scene, thinking to myself, "Didn't Edward Weston call stuff like this his pot boilers?"
I've been taking such images for a while now, but only when they fall in my lap, and always on my terms. Nobodies seen them yet...I'll trot them out when my daughter gets a little older. I never go looking for them.
I guess certain interpretations of what cheesy are depend on the individual. Maybe what I mean are certain type of images sell and at times I have made these type of images with the intent of selling them and they have sold. I can't deny the facts in that the type of images I like to do don't sell as good as the ones that I shoot hoping to make some sales. Beleive me I wish it were the other way around. I can post an example if you want.
Artists have a difficult struggle to be noticed by their respective communities. Some have unique visions and styles, others go through a process of learning others techniques and styles on the road to their own, like myself. It is also a survival instinct that you come to realize that along the road you travel you must prostitute yourself in order to continue. To do that you must provide quality work that will appeal to buyers and if it resembles recognized artists then so be it. The buyer knows it is not a Frank or a Lange, but then they can't afford the original. I have seen a thousand time exposures of oceans and rivers, IR forests, portraits of weather old men and women and they are all interesting to look at and I would buy them. The question is, when you arrive at the end of your journey does your work show your deepest emotions for others to ponder.
I love Etsy. Never made a sale, but I buy gifts for friends there. Check it out at.
"The question is, when you arrive at the end of your journey does your work show your deepest emotions for others to ponder."
Haven't arrived at the end of my journey! I hope my photography shows the deepest emotions of my clients! I work to make pics of the world better than it sometimes really is. I find a lot of the other is already presented! Smiles!