From On Being a Photographer, by Bill Jay & David Hurn (p.31):
The main tool of photography, the small box camera, has unfortunately stunted the growth of photography. It has created a mindset that a camera is a few inches high, several inches wide, and the lens sits on the front and focuses on something. When I was out a few weekends ago with another LF photographer strolling on the streets of Seattle, we got a lot of "WTF??" questions, etc. Yes, aliens had landed, they look peculiar, but they're not especially threatening (and no, it's not a Hasselblad).This reminds me ... Ralph Steiner, the late, great photographer, would occasionally write me a funny, provocative letter after he had read one of my published articles. He would end with the words: "But you still have not told me in which direction to point the camera -- and this is what matters." And he is right.
So what does that mean? The mind becomes used to X tool, and that defines what is done with the art form. So to break out of X syndrome, a different tool is used, or it is played very differently.
"They said, 'You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.'
The man replied, 'Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.'"
-- Wallace Stephens
When a tool is used which changes things as they are, it's usually disparaged. Soft focus? Selective focus? A toy camera? Infrared film? Monster grain? Oh, such a horror! Painting with a different brush is oh so tres gauche! Witness the f/64 group. And also witness that their photographs have also survived the test of time.
Maybe it is not the photographers, but it is the public who is directing photography. Why do William Wegner's dogs or Anne Gerdes' babies sell? People just like them. Why do Adams' expansive and majestic landscapes stand the test of time? People just like them. And on and on. And so the market drives the direction of art, because that's where the money is.