I read a blog post the other day where the author knocked the idea of shooting a landmark or other 'generic' location that a million other photographers have already shot. "Why would you want the same photo on your website that is on everyone else's website?" he asked. And went on to imply that if you didn't spend hours or days scouting a traditional location for a photo angle that no one else has ever come up with then somehow you're taking the easy way out. You're not a professional.
Well duh! No kidding! You do you, I'll shoot what I like, regardless of the thousands that have been there before me. They aren't me. Maybe I'll get a better shot, maybe not as good, but it'll be my shot. Why do I have to look at yours because you got there before me? Makes no sense at all.
Somehow, they will tell you that by taking a photo of the Washington Monument from the same exact spot stood upon by every amatuer and professional alike, you are lazy and lack creativity and vision. My response to that (printable anyway) is "whatever you say Mr Holier-than-thou photographer! You're probably one of those 'if you don't charge pro-scale for your work you are doing a disservice to the professional photographers trying to earn a living in your community' kooks!"
Meanwhile, I'll continue to take those same photos as a zillion other photographers, from the exact same iconic locations, so I can have the photo in MY collection. I don't want YOUR photo in my collection. I'm not concerned about the quality, quantity, or creativity of another person's photo collection as compared to mine. There will be millions better and millions not as good.
As The Stealth Photographer, part of my ritual is to research a location as much as possible, but sometimes my schedule restricts me into a specific geographic zone. If I'm trying to find a new location to shoot, and need to be quick about getting in and getting out, I may need to just shoot what I'm given and be on my way. Have I looked at Google photos, and pinpointed the exact location, expecting to shoot the exact photo I've seen? Yes, absolutely. Do I usually come away withe same photo that lured me to that location in the first place? Not usually. But even those times I do, I'm grateful I had the opportunity to grab the photo. I'm not too concerned about those that stood there before me. The photo is mine now - to do with as I please.
The question isn't why you would take the same photo as every other photographer, the question is why would you not want that iconic image as part of your collection? That's like trying to make someone explain the logic in getting a particular tattoo. They may have a story behind it that they want to share, they may not, but they have a reason they chose each and every tattoo on their body. Just as you have a reason to take, edit, show and archive each photo you create. The fact that someone else has taken the same photo should not be of concern.
Did they edit it the same way I did? Did they market it to the same people/audience I did? Did I even care if I profited from the photo? Did the photo meet my desire to create something personal I could be proud of enough to share with others? These are the questions that should be asked.
Why did I take a photo at the same iconic location as a zillion other photographers, without a unique foreground or angle?
Because I wanted to!