I spend a lot of time looking at the images of other photographers, some famous and some not. But the one thing I use as my standard on deciding if I like the photo is how the image first makes me feel when looking at it. For me images emote memories of things that mean something to me, whether it be a place, a time, a thing, or an emotion. Black and White (BW) images often convey that message for me stronger than color images. Perhaps it is because I grew up in the era of BW and home darkrooms or the fact that my favorite images and photographers all work in BW. The Feel of an Image is why I love photography.
Some element of an image must be the key if I am to like that image. In BW generally speaking it has to be the contrast range that defines the key elements in the image. When you look at work by Adams, Smith, or Weston, especially if you are seeing a print, they seem to have a dimensional reality of their own. The next time you are looking at images make a list of the elements of those you liked that first grabbed your attention, then review your own work looking for these type of elements. This is what will define your “style” which is so often hard for artist to do.