I'm involved in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) college program. I have some related biases, in that we are, in part, preparing people for employment in the various industries of design, photography, video & film, multimedia, etc.
To be competitive in the employment marketplace, our students must know what they're doing, why they're doing it, what conventions they're meeting, what "rules" they're breaking and why, and be able to represent this knowledgeable approach to employers, stakeholders and clients.
Understanding and respect of the viewer is important, as is understanding and respect of sponsors, and the conventions.
The goals of fine arts photographers like Weston and Adams are sometimes a bit different, though I feel there's considerable overlap.
I like all the quotes in post #8. They're great. I've also had to fire a graphic designer who lost sight of her client's goals while pursuing her vision. I hope she found another job, she was a nice person, who had some talent, but got mixed up on who her work was for.
More power to airfrogusmc in pursuing and extending their vision, and advising other aspiring photogs to do the same. If your goal is to get satisfaction from your work that may be enough for you.
For me, satisfaction comes from connecting with others. Not everybody connects their vision with others. I'm sad that my wife didn't particularly like what I thought was my best shot last year.
My advice is for each of us to figure out what we're in it for, then pursue that. I was at an edu conference a few weeks ago, one of the professors said: "I think that students who want to do what they want all the time should stop paying tuition and go do it."
So, why learn photography? I'm sure there's as many answers as there are photogs. Those who want to connect with others through their work should learn these conventions. Not follow them blindly, but learn them!
From the upper left corner of the U.S.
Photos, Video & Pano r us.
College and workshop instructor in video and audio.
70D, Sigma 8mm, Tokina f2.8 11-16, Canon EF-S f2.8 17-55, Sigma f2.8 50-150 EX OS, Tamron 150-600VC. Gigapan Epic Pro, Nodal Ninja 5 & R10.