"Did you manipulate that photo?" I wish I had a nickel every time I have heard that. Artists who paint are never asked that question. They add and remove elements, alter colors and change the perspective of a scene to express their artistic vision. Art is in the eye of the beholder.
I am a fine art photographer and consider my camera a tool to create art. Therefore, I allow myself the freedom to create images as a painter would. Check out the amazing artistry of fine art photographer Valda Bailey whose art is mostly created in-camera with multiple exposures and blending modes.
Of course the standards are different for a photojournalist. Their goal is to provide accurate documentation of events. However, even then, where one stands and what lens and settings are used on the camera can greatly influence the interpretation of the images.
You can view more of my painterly art in the impressions gallery.
Any thoughts on the matter?