I think any romanticism in art now is perceived as superstitious and our skeptical culture lumps it alongside religion. Most of the big names in photography are fundamentalist atheists, dwelling on emptiness. The 'thousand-yard stare' of Gursky and Shore disciples is the ghoulish preoccupation of the uninspired. There is only a void for these artists and they are endlessly swimming in its inky black depths. Passionate artists fill that void with their imaginations and are called naive for it, when really, this is in fact the embracing of life. Art now seems to mirror the increasingly hopeless search in science for 'something else'. It's a greater awareness of the cosmic and the forsaking of religion/spirituality that makes us see atoms where before we saw a life-affirming landscape. A tree is no different from a lamp post with this mindset and I don't think there's any going back from that.
The fact that any photographer practising more traditional landscape photography has to 'explain himself' is a real problem. Artists are not scientists, they shouldn't need a grand theory. The artist statement these days is akin to a thesis which has to be submitted to a committee, the work being mere experiments, proof.