After you scrape away all of the bullshit, there exists such a thing as fine art (as opposed to graphic design and craft) and there's a remarkable consensus as to what it is, in the case of any specific artist. Rembrandt, yes, Leroy Neiman, no. Just because you can't precisely define something, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. The problem is, the consensus takes a while to form, and many people who consider themselves fine artists, and who are considered fine artists by their contemporaries, are later often demoted to something else in the eyes of posterity. That will be what happens, IMHO, to such as Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst, and even such luminaries as Richard Serra, although I won't be around to see it. I read somewhere that there were 25,000 practicing artists in Paris during the Impressionist era, and we remember a few dozen of them now, if that many.
One key to fine art is that the artist does it because he is driven to it because of a particular kind of vision; he's not responding to a market. That gives his art a particular and discernible kind of honesty, even when other observers think what he is doing is crap (as with the early Van Gogh.) Whether or not Alain Briot's photography is now or ever considered fine art remains to be seen, but his very business-like approach to sales and marketing suggests to me it might not be (no offense intended; it's very skillful photography indeed.) The problem is, the content of his photography is not entirely inner-directed; it is also market-directed, and that's one thing that traditionally, fine art was not, and, indeed, can't be.
I've argued before that I can't think of a single famous fine-art photograph whose real, distinguishing characteristic is resolution, or focus, or technique. It's always something else. Avadon's bee boy was beautifully exposed and printed, but it's the boy and the bees who make the work, not the exposure. That makes the argument that you need layers in Photoshop somewhat suspect...