The concept I'm trying to get across here is that Stradivarius violins would not be any better, in terms of their sublime tonal qualities, if you were able to time travel and hand him a complete set of modern violin-making tools.
Why not? Because those exceptional tonal qualities, in so far as they are exceptional, were not a product of the sophistication of the tools used. They are a result of the choice of ingredients in the wood preservative used, and that choice of wood preservative is also not a product of the tools used, although the point is taken that one needs some sort of tool to stir the ingredients just as one needs some sort of camera to take a picture.
The choice of ingredients that Stradivarius used for his wood preservative could be considered as analogous to the compositional elements of a photograph with enduring artistic merit.
I do understand where you are coming from.
However, those violins are a product of many things, but can you be sure that old Straddy would not have been interested in tool developments? It's very likely that he chose the best available tools at the time, but I suspect that modern chisels would, at the very least, hold a better edge and that might well be useful to him. I'm not saying it's certain, but you have to entertain the possibility.
"They are a result of the choice of ingredients in the wood preservative used..."
In what way is anything involved in creating a work, that is not the pure ability of the craftsman, not a tool? The preservative is part of the process and no doubt a careful choice was made in picking it.
All these things, both material and mental, form parts of the creative process and you cannot isolate any one component and say it is irrelevant to the finished result.
"...and that choice of wood preservative is also not a product of the tools used..."
Here, you are right. The choice is not a product of a tool. But it is
a choice from what's available. Given a new choice, it may affect the end result therefore the thing you are choosing can be said to affect the aesthetic value of the outcome.
"The choice of ingredients that Stradivarius used for his wood preservative could be considered as analogous to the compositional elements of a photograph with enduring artistic merit."
No, I can't agree. The choice of ingredients is analogous to the choice of film, lens, camera etc - hardware all. The sound of the violin is analogous to the composition of a photo.