We've been down this road once or twice before, but most of the replies in this thread miss the elephant in the room: that photos can be the best representation of reality that we can manage. They don't necessarily have to be, but they can be. That's why photos are taken as evidence in criminal cases, that's how they're used in navigation, that's how they're used to calculate precise orbits, etc. In other words, photos aren't just what people want them to be; they're not just another bit of sensation dependent on human interpretation. If a series of photos lead to calculations that show an astroid is going to hit New York City on July 4, you probably don't want to be there on July 4, if you have any interest in continuing with your current life style. In other words, photos *can* be objective evidence of events outside human psychology. Painting, on the other hand, can't be, nor can any of the other art forms. This gives photography a particular power. it *can* be a representation of reality outside of human psychology. To say that a photograph it *isn't* an objective reality (as Picasso supposedly did) is to confuse sophomoric discussions of philosophy (Hey, don't bogart the joint, man) with serious reflection on the way the world works.
The above is one case, and now I'll suggest another, but this *is* purely subjective -- in my opinion, the power of photography comes from its ability to represent the objective in a meaningful way. The greater the distance between meaningful representation, and the photograph as hung on the wall, the less I'm interested. If one spends a lot of time looking at a wide variety of paintings, you'll very quickly notice that some huge percentage -- 99+% -- is crap. Poorly executed even in its own terms, intellectually shallow, derivative...stupid. In my view, photography starts with one great strength, the ability to represent an external reality with some fidelity, and a lot of potential weaknesses -- easy technical manipulation, fraud, snarkiness, and so on. I'm not interested in that stuff. I don't doubt that others are.