I heartily concur.
Combining 3 bracketed frames into HDR can help one make a print that resembles the original scene, even if said scene is beyond the single-capture range of the camera. It's a technique to overcome the limitations of the eqipment. But compositing a glacier into a desert scene is something else entirely.
Each will be self evident: an impressive or boring landscape or a stunning or silly juxtapositon of two realities.
Neither is of course more valid.
The only point of reference for veracity is when the picture is altered and so deceives a serious historical, news, scientific or other record the picture is said to document.
Apart from that, it doesnt matter how you fiddle the data.
You might reduce DOF by choosing to use a telephoto wide open or combine 400 frames to expand dynamic range.
All such measures, including tone shifts, trains coming out of people's eyes or other acts of fancy, whim or style are yours to choose.
However, none of these methods are in themselve relevent or of any greater or lesser importance.
All images are true and false at the same time.
The image is either impactful emotionally or not. To the extent that it charges the emotions and compels revisiting, it succeeeds as art. All other considerations, rules and standards are delusional.
A picture can be grainy, out of focus, with the wrong colors and have no classic composition and yet still be exceptional.
Likewise a rule abiding, perfectly composed, lit and printed picture of a lovely landscape can be trite.
In a way, great photgraphy is like a good joke. Did they laugh? If they did, then the line was good.
The same with art. If you stir emotions and people are pulled into your world, you succeeeded.
As long as we know what our intent is, documentation or art, then I see no difficulties in what we do.
The conceit, however, that one kind of landcape somehow is truthful while a green camel is not, is a retrogressive attitude.
Truly, the ideas expressed in the metaphor of a "green camel" in a particular picture, might indeed be important and of consequence to our way of looking at our society, choices and so forth.
Art is indeed a vehicle that tests, carries and diseminates the allegories, myths and metaphors of our culture. Unlike verbal language, art isn't so transient, lost after each word is spoken.
Unlike a word or a sigh, our pictures last. They therefore need to carry some device that triggers emotions again and again.
That is such a high demand!
In fairness, therefore, art is valid by nature of it's visibility, intent and reception not how it is assembled!
This is true for paints, metals, stone or photographs.
It's valid if it moves you. It could be layered, fused, brilliantly developed in silver or pure iridium... and be junk.
Sorry to speachify, but the idea of denigrating some art as less "truthful" really bugs me!