Great thread. Many years ago I was of the opinion that the Westons and Adams were the beginning and end of photography and their landscape photographs were the only images worth looking at. Family photographs and any commercial photography was ignored. I then met an elderly photographer who was also very interested and knowledgable about the history of photography and we had many deep and sometimes argumentative discussions on the very subject of this thread. His view was that the most important photographs were those made by the local photographer as well as those family and holiday photographs made by the general public for they would provide the historians with extremely valuable evidence as to how people lived, what they wore even how they cut their hair.
Initally I rubbished this view but eventually I realised that there was a lot of truth in what he said. He never rubbished the landscapes of the greats that I loved so much, in fact he thought that they were also great photographs, just not so important as the others. He felt that although the landscape changed it did take time whereas fashions and living conditions etc frequently change.
I recently visited Point Lobos for the first time and walked on the hallowed ground walked on and photographed by perhaps the greatest influence on my photography, Mr Edward Weston. To say that I felt humble is an understatement, I saw Edward Weston images everwhere that I looked and my mind went back to those long and interesting conversations with my friend and thought again how right he was. Weston has been gone for 50 years and his landscape has changed little but look at how the rest of the world has changed.
I am not dissmissing the work of the greats, for they have brought to all who look at the prints they left behind a beauty and celebration of the landscape for as long as the prints exist. I also think that many more interesting and valid points have been made in this extremely interesting thread, thanks to you all.