O'Sullivan's strand of landscape representation has led to the more dispassionate, politically motivated and art savvy colour work of the natural scene today - which takes a great deal from painterly convention, as well as photographic history. The Ansel lineage, made up of people like Sexton, Barnbaum, Rowell, Muench, is a very insular photographic world, which still insists, "thou shalt not not take from other visual arts". The reason those guys won't be listed in the history books along with their American contemporaries like Misrach, Burtynsky and Klett is because their work fervently and stubbornly denies art tradition, for a kind of 'photography meets Thoreau' utopia. In my mind, it's like the 'fantasy' genre of photography.
I say this by the way as someone who loves Ansel and others of that lineage, in small doses. But I believe the kind of 'tradition' the OP alludes to is a 'vacuum tradition' or put more directly, photographic naive art - a world unto itself. When photography is already a niche, too much of this work makes me feel claustrophobic. Which is why I gave up on making romantic landscape pictures.
The Ansel lineage is sneaky in a way, for standing on the shoulders of giants (painters) - in terms of its subjective representation - without acknowledgement or reference.