I spoke with a person in the film industry on Friday. We were talking about HMI lighting (yikes! more lighting from Kirk?) and he made a remark concerning still photographers. I give him credence since his background originally included a successful career in photography. His remark, in regards to the real lack of lighting acumen among most shooters was this: "There's no such thing as a good photographer under 40."
Rather than trying to be snarky what he was really trying to say is that it takes both 10,000 hours of working on a craft to even begin to get a sense of mastery, and that the first twenty years of working in the arts is a process of working through all the different styles and influences you are plagued with until you finally get to the point where your true visual and conceptual nature shine through and you are able to comfortably separate your work from the transient seduction of the photographic fashion of the moment. It's the point at which you decide that you don't need to learn HDR or layering or a specific method of fill lighting just because everyone else is doing it, in the moment.
Said in a nicer and simpler way: It takes time to find your voice