I don't know, I'm actually ambivalent about this one. If the "artist" were claiming that he's a photographer and that his works were "photographs" then obviously there's an issue. But if he's claiming he's a "photo artist" *and* if the licensing of the stock image from Getty was one that would allow secondary use with alteration, then I might tend to side with the artist.
For example Andy Warhol took photos of Cambell Soup cans and lined them up and called it art. And many people agree with him. I don't see there being a material difference between that and what this Australian dude did.
Now, of course, if the Getty licensing specifically forbade the kind of secondary use, then there's a violation there.