Tim, I won't argue against the fact that many people are tokens of a larger type. Maisel is one, Burtynsky as well, and so on, like the calendars.

In a separate thread, people were discussing originality v. quality. I, like others, bemoan the fact that artists too often look for the novelty in order to fulfill an artificially created need for originality. And it's true, a lot of the stuff you see in art magazines will be gone in two months once the novelty wears off. It would be an occasional and refreshing event to see an artist that is not trying to outdo his peers, and instead strive for simple quality, and good execution.

But the opposite problem is of people who simply produce "correct" pictures, that respect the rules of spatial composition, colour harmony, exposure, and development.

I'm not dismissing the pictures you showed for lack of quality in execution, but I ask myself: Why do these pictures matter over all the other ones? They're slick, well exposed and pleasing to the taste of many, but they don't have the vague sense of a theme, nor a particular outlook on life, nor an effort to see pictorially beyond the canons of received beauty. They don't articulate a statement, thematic or pictorial, they don't say something.

Of all the three Cornish pictures, the last one is perhaps the only one that comes close to articulating something, because of the parallel between the cirrus clouds and the beach patterns. But I can't see anything similar applying to the sun-through-clouds one or the cliff.

Perhaps if I knew a little bit more about Cornish, saw a few more of his pictures, I could read him better, just like you confessed your inability to see what Sternfeld is articulating.

So to come back to the question of being token-of-a-type, I don't think it matters if someone is "calendary" because of the way their photos look. They're calendary only when they don't make an effort to articulate anything. It's not about being original v. cliché, but about saying something worth hearing.