Today his commercial work is probably his most interesting. Today his commercial work is considered urban industrial documentary. It foreshadows Walker Evans's documentary work of the 1930s.
He is totally unknown at present, except by historians. He is possibly the greatest unknown photographer.
There is almost always something to look for out of the ordinary. The quality of his work creates possibility and leaves room for the imagination.
He seemed to have an eye for the out-of-the-ordinary in the ordinary location.
He may or may not have viewed himself as a fine artist, but he did photos for himself as well as commercial photos. We have several samples of his Pyramid Lake photos that he did for himself. He viewed his commercial work as sales items to make money and saw his landscapes as more artistic.
What we now call modern photography was influenced by commercial photography. But not all (modern artists) were commercial photographers, and not many (commercial photographers) are recognized as fine artists.