...That said, IMHO "fine art photography" is not "art" in the highest sense as no photography is ever "art" in the highest sense, not even Saint Ansel's production. I see it more as a craft, the domain of skill and taste. Mestiere.
But it is legitimately called "fine art photography" because that is the linguistic convention to distinguish it from the other genres of photography.
Let me dip in here with a question. Do you say Photography 'is not "art" in the highest sense' because of, what? Why? Its reproducibility? Certainly the David is art in the highest sense and, although it could be reproduced, let's be serious; it's a one off. Is it uniqueness that is the basis? Is that why photography is not Art (as in artist) but Craft (as in artisan) in you view? I ask because I once saw a show of work by, I think, Kim Weston. One feature of the works for sale is that each piece had its negative permanently mounted on the back of the print. This was his attempt to provide uniqueness to the eminently reproducible photograph. I don't know if it worked for him.
I photograph things to see what things look like photographed.
- Garry Winogrand