Studying the aesthetics of photography is comparable to learning what wines you should like from reading a book on wine appreciation. Also, too often the aesthetics discussions devolve into ArtSpeak.
The alternative methodology of studying the sociological milieu at least has the advantage of providing a historical and socioeconomic context for the art.
Neither of these approaches should be of any importance when actually photographing.
It is of paramount importance to me when I am photographing. I create aesthetic objects. My photography has absolutely nothing with sociological milieu or with the subject at all.
However, I believe as did Barnett Newman, that "criticism is to the artist as ornithology is to the birds".