The problem with all of the above is, documentation is about all that photography ultimately has to offer. You start getting into compositing, by Jerry Uelsmann or anybody else, the result is almost always an embarrassing mishmash of images, a kind of crappy collage. It reminds me of stuff that we used to do back in photo class in college in 1962, though his technique was better. But come on, a tree and roots cupped by hands? It's embarrassing. It's like black velvet paintings of Elvis. Then, on the other kind of manipulation, done by Jeff Wall and others, where we have phony documentation, the obvious question is, So what? I was once sitting on a couch playing with a digital camera and watching a well-shot thriller movie, on a big screen TV, and began taking shots of it. Some of them looked pretty good, because the guy who set up the original shots was a skilled cinematographer and had the benefits of skilled costumers, actors, location scouts, lighting, etc. But if you look at MY shots, you ask, So what? It looked good, but was essentially meaningless because it's bullshit.
Ansel Adams manipulated his images (with filters and other devices) but within certain ethical guidelines. As far as I know, he never snipped a moon out of one photo and composited it into another. The same with Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, whoever. When Avedon went out west, he took a studio with him, with assistants, and posed his characters, but he didn't *invent* the characters. They invented themselves.
So, there *is* cheating. And it's like one of the Supremes said about pornography, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."