But let's be frank - it is art "lite".
Photography is a pleasurable pursuit for all who press the shutter. It can become a voyage of exploration and discovery for those who practise is purposefully. And it can yield impressive "artistic" results for the lucky few, but with much less talent and investment of time and effort than the classical music, dance et al.
You are welcome to your opinions, but I see things somewhat differently. I have been a composer and professor of musical composition and theory, and now am shooting for "fine art" prints for exhibit and sale. I would like to make several personal observations:
1) The ease of producing a work should have nothing to do with its artistic value. Beethoven labored over each measure, reworking the score so much that he actually had to paste new paper over some measures. Handel knocked out the Messiah in about 13 days. Marcel Du Champ's "Fountain" is a urinal placed upside down, and was just as complete as a scene captured with a camera. It is part of a genre of "Found Art," which has a modern equivalent in "Appropriated Art," where, for example, Richard Prince has made huge blowups of preexisting photographs by other photographers. You can agree or disagree as to whether this is art, art lite or nonsense, but there are many serious artists, grounded in the history of art, who produce such art. There are also people who view such art as serious art, whether or not you see the term "serious" as "hauteur" and "high-mindedness."
2) I have made photographs since I was a child, and my goals have always been the same with photography as with musical composition: to interpret what I observe, to create a situation in which I can share it and communicate to others, and to move others, not necessarily in the same way I was moved in producing the work (music or print), but to evoke a response.
3) Some photographic artists (Adams, Weston, etc.,) started with an existing scene but spent hours in a darkroom, transforming the scene into what was their vision. Today, with Photoshop, the same possibilities for creative self expression exist.
4) When I was teaching music, many of my colleagues dismissed jazz as music of "unschooled" musicians, with little or no artistic value. Today, jazz is recognized as an art form, with complexity and nuance that many symphonically trained musicians are totally incapable of performing.
5) All of the skills of photography, when learned, can produce adequate prints, but with a vision, often based on a lifetime of aesthetic observation and consideration, a photographer can produce a moving statement In fact, some photographers enjoy the challenge of using a $20 Holga with light-leaks and plastic lens to produce an artistic statement.
6) Is a poem written in a few minutes by a sensitive poet to be considered a lesser example of art than a poem that took anguishing hours of work to tailor? I would think not, but again, you are welcome to your opinions.
7) A large number of painters, sculptors and other visual artists have made photographs, not merely to record their art, but as an artistic challenge to them, and they consider their photographs on the same level as their paintings or sculpture.
Some 40 years ago I attended a concert of avant guarde music. I was a composer of Electronic Music at the time, but my challenge was to utilize form to structure the music. This concert presented new work by many composers, in which form was incidental, or by chance, or so variable that no two performances of a given piece would be, or could be, similar. I left the concert enraged, feeling that these composers had some interesting effects but were short-changing the audience and giving modern music "a bad name." Ten years later, in front of a class of would-be musicians and composers, I realized that I was using a recording of one of those pieces and that it had become one of my favorites.
At that point I became much more humble, realizing I had not been able to open myself up to the music of that concert. I soon adopted the stance that if there are serious people presenting their work, I may like it, dislike it, "get" it or not, agree with it or not, but not to judge it as "more than" or "lesser than" in terms of art.
Sorry for being so long-winded.