Well, about a year ago a very similar debate was had in response to an article posted by Alain Briot and his philosophy toward photography and art.
In "The Ethics of Photo Manipulation" Charles Johnson explicitly referred to Alain Briot’s article, “Ansel Adams Moves” and “Alain Briot Moves” so the debate is similar.
It's a little surprising that none of us took-up Alain Briot’s language to say that obviously “Ansel Adams Moves” are legitimate in an “Ansel Adams Photography Game” and “Alain Briot Moves” are legitimate in an “Alain Briot Photography Game” and the arguing is mostly about primacy -- is there just one legitmate “Photography Game” or are there many?
The ethical problem occurs when a photograph is substantively altered, but the person doing the manipulation attempts to retain its character as a photograph, and then either maintains that it is am image taken directly from a camera, or allows the viewer to believe that. (Belief is always the default, because...
Conflating "its character as a photograph" with "taken directly from a camera" simply assumes the primacy of a particular “Photography Game”.
The salient characteristic of a photograph is that it "looks so real" like a mirror image; and like a mirror image that also means selective and distorted.
However, Alain, explicitly and obviously, through his artists statement, informs viewers and buyers that his images may well be purely the result of his imagination and artistic ability. ... I confess to respecting the views advanced without really comprehending why an open disclosure of one's artistic philosophy could not be given to viewers and buyers as the case may be.
Open disclosure for the “Alain Briot Photography Game” but not for the “Ansel Adams Photography Game”?