In my original post, I tried to avoid giving my personal opinion - to avoid getting in the way of the reader’s own thinking. I have since received some very interesting email, and pretty much everybody who sent me email wrote something along the lines that different photographers working on the same (or very similar) idea is a good thing because that way, you get to see different takes of that same idea and, thus, you experience each photographer’s personal influence (note how we’re here in “remix” culture territory!).
To get back to Erik’s post, it seems like he wouldn’t agree with this. How else would you understand his statement that “there is something disappointing about the similarities in the work”? I personally think that if you approach photography that way, you will always be disappointed. And what would one say about a similar entry where, instead of showing photos that use that limited depth-of-field, one would show, for example, stark b/w portraits? Would we find it disappointing to see how similar (on the surface) photos by Richard Avedon, Steve Pyke, and Martin Schoeller (to name just three famous masters of portraiture) are?