I think the validity of a body of work comes from familiarity with the subject which usually takes a while. It may even be that there are soooo many reiterations of the icons because they've been pre-digested and 'approved' by being photographed so often. Those who then stick their tripods in the existing holes feel as if they have a long established familiarity with that subject even though they may have just arrived there. But, I don't usually have much interest in their work.
It takes some courage to declare: "this is important to me...that's why I'm making this image", even though no one else has ever done so. It's also why, of all the photo essays from NOLA after Katrina, I much prefer our own Samuel Portera's to the portfolios of others....he lived there! Not landscapes, of course, but a body of work based on knowing the subject intimately.
So....no, IMO, you're not waffling away .