Today I had to answer a difficult question. I was talking to a person looking at an artist's photographs. The person pulled up one of the images and asked, "why would I buy a stock photo?" My first response was that it wasn't a "stock photograph" the artist had purchased, but was something they had taken originally. This response missed the mark, the person was not implying that the artist had bought a stock photo, but that the scene in the image included a tourist destination that so familiar that they had a postcard that resembled the photo greatly.
I really had to think about this. Of course the first answer to my mind was that no one was forcing the person to buy it. However, this is not really a good answer. Now, my philosophy is that anything that is created can have a positive affect on the world. Someone, somewhere, at sometime will be inspired by the piece. This also did not seem to be an adequate answer.
Finally, I realized what was nagging me about the question. The person was associating the photo with the location of the photograph. Now, sometimes people take photos of places, and sometimes people take photos of people, but really good photographers are taking photos of moments in my opinion. It's the light, and the composition that draws the artist eye to take a photo. True, if you wanted a picture of the Grand Canyon to remember your trip, any photo of that scene might do. But if you wanted to remember the clouds that raced by in the morning light as the coffee was cooking on the fire, and the small bird that had been flittering around the campsite landed on the edge of the canyon. Well, then only a specific image would do.
Collecting art is about finding your passion. If something doesn't make you excited, don't feel that you need to own it. Instead, use your excitement and passion to help find the art for you.