Let me come at this from a different angle. I am a photographer, not an art critic, so the state of "Art" is of little concern to me. I too have seen a decline in proper photographic technique. I work in Digital prepress, scanning and working photos digitally for advertising agencies, and have come to this conclusion: Adobe Photoshop is killing photography. It is an odd thing for me to say, since for the past seven years Photoshop has been my bread and butter, and paid for my my photography habit.
The is a widely used studio photographer in my area, and I have scanned thousands of his 4x5's, and he has never had a balanced white in a single shot. There is another widely used location photographer here, and in three years I have never seen an in focus shot from him. Both of these men feel that it should be fixed in Photoshop, and could careless that the use of a single filer, or the use of a loupe could potentially save their client thousands of dollars a year in digital imaging costs.
The other side of this is the customer that goes to print with images they shot with a 800asa disposable camera, and expect Hasselblad quality.
I know this sounds like I'm trying to complain myself out of a job, but my feelings come out of respect for the craft of photography that I work to better for myself everyday. I see too many people trying to do the least the can for their buck, and pass their problem on to the next person. Personally, I could not sleep at night treating clients this way.
I am doing something about it though. I'll be going to Appalachain State University this summer to earn a photography degree. This thread has been one to malign academic photography, but I am not going for an "Art" degree, I'll be after a Technical Photograhy degree offered through the Technology dept. I am 34 years old, a 20 year photographer, and seven year photoshop professional. My goals are to hone my LF proficency through some well respected, at least in this area, photographers and teachers; and in turn to work to promote quality photography and photographers through proper technique and eduction, both of the public and in a professional capasity.
Any asshole can take a blurry, color casted, or grainy photo and call it art, or worse bill a client for it, and I see this is becoming the norm. I feel that due to my current profession, I feel I am partly to blame for this. I am going to fix it.
I typically step on a few toes when I rant about it, and I appologize if that is the case here. I respect and admire the opinions and experience of all on this forum, and I am persuing my path through my love of photography.
I'll get off my high horse now, and get back to work.