Then there's blind imitation...
Originally Posted by hoffy
Learning is a process of recognition and growth. It starts with imitation, then assimilation, then hopefully innovation.
Flickr doesn't encourage self-reflection and growth, only impulse uploading and a steady stream of compliments - consistent validation. It's a world without questions. Everything you produce, in your mind, is always great in someone elses. It's like a psychological and artistic impasse. The same effect Mr. Wright and his friend's work have on some. *
When pleasing yourself is as easy as pleasing everyone else, you're Harry Cory Wright. Then there's those in the middle who just want to produce and see good work, but are constantly inundated by these annoying problems; "why is he photographing everything and everyone always likes it? Why am I constantly challenging myself? Would I be happier doing what he's doing? What's the point in doing anything?" Some people like to consistently challenge themselves and others, which usually makes for better art.
But these questions that keep arising at the moment, which are never about the work specifically, but about the point of work altogether, make for procrastination. So even if we want to make good art, the empty stuff opens up a hole that we all fall down whether we like it or not. Art itself is in the middle of an existential crisis. Nothing really clearly good or really obviously bad can be done until we move past this phase.*
Going full circle, that's exactly the same reason I've ignored Flickr for the last year.*
Here's a suggestion:
Every artist and photographer everywhere should work in obscurity and only take their inspiration from the classic work. Maybe then, in another 50 years, we'll be back where we were before this whole charade started.