Originally Posted by Q.G.
Salgado's work suffers because it's often printed too large, it is 35mm after all, and I think Tri-X. The images I've seen are close to the max quality you can expect under those circumstances. I've seen worse from 100 ISO films.
I'd add I saw an Ansel Adams exhibition 2 years ago in Oxford and the quality wasn't the best, it was work from his daughters collection, later prints were far higher quality.
But your second paragraph sums it up, you master the craft, it becomes second nature, it isn't exactly forgotten, it's become subconscious, intuitive, then you have greater creative freedom knowing your images will work, and pushing your boundaries further.
Every now and again you have to take stock of your own work, be harsh, critical and rfealistic in analysing your images asking yourself how you could do better, that way you grow.