Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
I can usually recognise a picture by HCB or Atget within a few seconds, but would struggle with many others.
That's because you're not familiar with anyone other than these two!

You should try spending time with other photographers, cliveh. Something outside your comfort zone. Alec Soth for instance has a very subtle style, but I instantly recognise pictures I haven't seen as being his - just as well as a Paul Strand or Callahan. Jem Southam too - who I still haven't come to a conclusion about - has a very quiet, very contemporary style, but I recognise his pictures straight away.

It's not just the greats who have a strong style. As I see it, style is just an expression of personality and we're drawn to particular work for being a reflection of our own. It just happens that the greatest work is the most universal and identifiable, vernacular and familiar. I think some people are too scared to look at work beyond the greats, for fear of finding something out about themselves! The deeper you get into anything - be it music, photography, art - the more you look for work that has some kind of resonance with your own unique personal experience.