I have wrestled with a conflict I have with modern gallery owners and jurors. Your comments illustrate my problem clearly. The conflict is between the content creators and photographers. I am a photographer and observer of the world. I don't create content and I am not interested in being "liberated" to do so. Like Nat, I find the abstracts in the world around me beautiful and interesting. The subjects are endless and I am never bored. I celebrate the beauty in the world around me.
I am a little tired of, as Dave Barry calls them, the "Serious Art People" being obsessed with the nouveau. I really have nothing against self expression and if you have something to say and you want to do it with a can of paint and a sewing machine and tape and cardboard fine. If you want to take a photograph of it afterwards to remember it that is fine also. But that IMHO is not photography. Photography is the art of seeing.
The juried photographic world seems to be dominated and controlled by those who think art is only done by content creators. Somebody point out to me the shows that are open only to photographers? The comparison is between apples and oranges and you cannot judge a group of submissions by criteria that is suitable for content creators and photographers both. A recent well known installation artist judging a local show admitted that he did not always photograph his installations himself. Sometimes he hired a photographer. Another from Aperture Magazine commented that she was glad the submissions were, for the most part, "beyond landscapes."
By the way, I am not a writer either and the work I select to show must stand alone because it is visual art not something requiring a small book to explain. If I had to provide a narrative for my work I would consider it an abject failure.
I am insulted by your suggestion that for my work to have value and for me to be other than a technician I must create content. I am proud to struggle to become a better craftsman in the art of photography, an activity rich with a tradition of technicians like Ansel Adams.