Unfortunatly, i must disagree with you all.
Using your logic, someone has an idea, walks 5 minutes to a street, does this multiple times, takes absolutley rubbish pics, takes a few minutes to compile, then spends many hours in a computer, creates a piece of art and thats ok.
Then someone plans for over a year, travels 12,000 miles, sits in a hide for days, captures a beautiful image after making multiple in camera and lens adjustments,knows the workings of a camera lens etc is praised in top of the line pro gold standard magazines.
So using your argument the person who spends time on a computer but cant take a picture may be a better photographer than the person who has takes that in camera shot.
Or, if I may flip your scenario:
Given the choice of an interesting image that speaks to me in its own right (that happens to be created by a boring 25-year old mostly in front of photoshop), and a flat, non-interesting image (but with a highly interesting background involving 25 pounds of gear, 3 years of scouting, and a photographer that was eventually seriously wounded by a rhino), the latter is the best art?
Given the interesting, but not quite-there images of a 50 year old male photographer who has read and practiced the art of photography for decades, and an 18 year old girl who "stumbles" upon the most intriguing, disturbing, evocative scene of our lifetime and for some reason picks up her iPhone and take an image at the exact right time and place, only to never again take an interesting image. Should we dismiss the latter image because it is not "classy" enough?
Is a piece of music based on "sampling" other music, by a person who cannot himself use a musical instrument, of inherently less artistic value than a piece of music created by a person who can use a musical instrument? Is music programmed on a computer inherently lower value than music played on a violin? Even before you get to listen and make a judgement? When Mozart wrote down notes on a piece of paper, was that necessarily better art than some current composer who did something similar in front of a computer sequencer?
I think it boils down to "is the artistic value of art only a matter of inherent properties in the art itself, or does the context in which the art was created add/detract to its artistic value"
? The same discussion is present in e.g. literature, and I am sure that anyone who has attended art classes (I have not) will have had some discussions on the topic?
If "photography" is seen as some martial art where the best of the best meet to compare their gear and their ability to use it in painful ways so as to produce images that few others are able and willing to produce, then yes, the method to make those images is relevant. If that is the case, I shall stop photographing and stop viewing photographies immidiately. But if photography is seen as the art of producing realism-inspired (e.g. printed) art with the goal of provoking thought and emotions through any means practically/legally/morally possible, I am back in again.
Perhaps this means that Joe Average will think highly of whatever post-processing trick is hot at the moment (HDR, instamatic, or whatever). Chances are, he will no matter what the artsy people tells him. So the high-culture and the low-culture separates in terms of post-processing preferences, just like they do in most all other aspects of art (and life). Is this because the proclaimed experts have a better education and have spent more time with the subject? Or because Universities and semi-closed "expert" venues are merely reproducing established convetions? Or because the cultural elite has a need to distinguish itself from the masses?