If you are photographing things you love, those emotions come across without thinking. Or maybe doing stuff you love while photographing works too: Mountaineering - Alexadre Buisse; Watching pretty girls - Rob C; Spending time in Mexico - Michael.
None of this is rocket science and it is kind of obvious. But I think it is a key ingredient to "talent" - Being able to wear your heart on your sleeve in a way that comes across in your artwork.
Well yes, you're right of course, but that's more easily said than done. I don't now anything about mountaineering so nothing about Alexandre Buisse, but as far as I know, Michael made his eff-off money doing many things and is now free to indulge in what pleaes him; I spent a lifetime finding the work
to finance/provide what I enjoyed the most, which you accurately described, but in my case, to continue doing that without the clients around's impossible.
So, if anything, I’d have to say that choice of genre is something that you sometimes are able to decide for yourself, but quite often it chooses you, and unless you can provide the infrastructure which usually includes substantial piles of money as well as credible outlets (for professional work), you are scuppered, to be polite about it.
I know that many people are happy enough just to be able to use their camera stuff well, and their objectives are achievable on their own account; they should count their blessings!
There’s the famous (infamous?) Terence Donovan quotation which, to paraphrase as best I can, amounts to: “the problem for an amateur is finding a good reason to make a photograph.” A worse condition, in my humble, is having the desire, the ability and appetite, but not the outlet. You can lose your hair.
Doing something you love does, of course, help, but even then, with all the money, the location and the human resources you need, there are a hundred and one reasons why it can go pear-shaped on you, and it can and will. I’ve gone off (Corfu) on a two-week shoot that lasted two days because of model health problems; my first calendar shoot in Mallorca there was an extended altercation at security as we were leaving and my film bag was unceremoniously pulled out of my hands and thrust through the X-Ray and yes, Kodachrome 64 plus X-Ray produces greenish tan. My wife and I swore we’d never set foot in Mallorca again, never imagining that two years later we’d be living there. Fortunately, this time the client was with us and watched the event taking place from the inside of the barrier.
I should imagine that anyone with a great interest in anything that has a visual side to it, such as the mountain stuff you quoted as well as perhaps sailing, skiing, flying, and also surfing, can have a gloriously happy lifetime relationship both with the sport as well as the associated art.
If you love music, that’s when you can feel envious about Annie L and her Rolling Stone life (sans special chemical additives, of course, but I guess you couldn’t have one without the other in those days…).