Note to Anonymous commenters: Random name calling by an Anonymous commenter is likely to be attributed to mrca, who has been banned from commenting (with one exception noted below) so if you're just some other random dolt, that's where your comments are going. Sorry.
I made a little page just for you clowns hate-reading me from The Photo Forum. Fuck off, stop reading my blog, there's nothing here you idiots are going to find interesting. I will try to link to this page each time in future I refer to your forum, so you morons have some context when inevitably your little spies alert you to the Mean Blogger.
In my occasional wanderings through the seedier sides of the internet (no, no, not the MFA people god forbid, just the forums) I happened across this interesting thread, which you may peruse or not as you prefer.
In this thread (there is a history of these dolts harassing me with DMCA takedown requests, so I won't be posting the picture here) we start with a photograph of a man holding a Mamiya RB67 in the manner of Hamlet interrogating Yorick's skull. There's a HUGE pile of text that explains in laborious detail why the picture is so great, followed by a number of comments agreeing that it is extremely great. The point of the picture was to show how wonderfully sharp the Nikon D850 camera paired with Zeiss lenses is, an exercise in absurdity because you can crank out just as pointlessly crunchy a picture with practically any camera and lens today.
Be that as it may, the point of the picture is to show off technical chops, and by god it does that. Well done, whatever your name is.
Following down a little we find the spoiler. Some other poster remarks that with all those goddamned lights the result is kind of flat. To this I will add that the subject appears to be floating, or glowing, because there's so much light splashed around on him against the relatively dark background, and also I don't believe that you intended the specular highlights on the camera to look like that.
This is of course met with fury and vitriol, which is pure delight to read.
Anyways, the spoiler is perfectly correct. While this thing is a technical tour-de-force, it looks outright weird when you stop admiring the rim lighting and whatnot, and actually look at the picture. This is a picture photographers love, but nobody else does. To everyone else, it merely looks "sharp" or possibly "clear" and a bit... off.
Stepping back slightly further, we can examine the idea. Yes, yes, the lighting hero has some story about an analogy between Hamlet's contemplation of his own morality[sic] and the dominance of digital photography over film, but that's pretty forced and wrong-headed. He's just sticking a literary reference in there to be cute, and to borrow some of Shakespeare's mojo for his own. Obviously it worked, the picture is Award Winning, after all! But I am not buying it, and neither should you. It's just an arbitrary random reference signifying nothing, it has no more weight than name-dropping Roland Barthes in your essay about photography.
This is exactly the sort of thing the Pictorialists were rightly panned for. Rather than having any ideas at all, let alone photographic ones, they would simply stick in a literary or mythical reference, and hope for the best. Look, this isn't just some naked chick, it's Aphrodite! Indeed, I would be astonished if you could not relatively easily find some gum-bichromate mess from the late 1800s with pretty much exactly this scene in it, albeit with a skull. Possibly a teapot, if you stumbled across some would-be wit.
So, this particular photograph is fascinating because while it is essentially just some gearhead flaunting his gear and his lighting skills, it nonetheless is essentially a near-perfect example of the errors of Pictorialism. While it is vaguely painterly, no painter would ever have so grossly misunderstood how light falls, and indeed neither would any Victorian-era Pictorialist. It was left up to modern photographers, with their baskets of lights, to mess up the fall of light to thoroughly.
This all suggests to me that the errors of Pictorialism are basic just human errors. Most of us simply aren't clever enough to say anything particularly interesting, so we reach for the same gimmicks regardless of era. Photographers still ape painters, badly, and still borrow cheap references in lieu of anything interesting 100-140 years later.