Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16128
Well it could be. Or it could be the opposite in that they are driven to move further away from what they've already done to try and push into different (and sometimes less accessible) territory. For a lot of artists, it's about being edgy, about challenging the audience. If that edginess becomes accepted by the establishment, if the audience is no longer challenged because the work becomes part of the mainstream, maybe they deliberately want to try and do something less accessible. Sometimes the issue with that is the work does become too inwardly intellectual.
That is another possibility, true. There is a third one, I suppose. Some artists may realise that the success has taken something from them, and so they move to the photographic equivalent of the log cabin on a mountain top, and simply stop caring about others any more, and just pursue their own little pet thing in semi-private.
I don't know anything about Moriyama, so I don't know which is more accurate with him.
With the music analogy, there are also bands that have early success and then keep making music that moves away from the mainstream (or pushes the mainstream out) instead of staying in it and wallowing in mediocity. I kind of think of the Beatles that way, later in their history they started to do some weird and exotic things if you compare it to their earlier stuff. The tricky part is being able to balance that against becoming too self absorbed in your own concepts to make meaningful connections with any audience. (You could make a case that's what happened with John Lennon when he left the Beatles with his solo career...)
Paul McCartney also ended up doing a lot of thoroughly mediocre work after leaving the Beatles. I guess they both still had enough in them for a few more hits, but nothing more systematic than that. Some artists really seem to need a certain environment to thrive, and when they leave that environment, whether that be a group, a certain relationship to the artistic community in general, or simply the lack of success, they stop being able to produce (as much).