Don't know why you can't see the link try copying and googling the following. " william russel young st. andrews soft focus " it came up for me as the top link.
The quote by Firth is in Young's PHD Thesis.
What actually flashed through my head first was formal portraiture versus candid photo journalism. Steve McCurry is an interesting example. Many of his shots that look candid are actually setups. I know several people who have worked along side him and were taught by him to grab a subject person you like and then put them into the setting you want. McCurry seems to "dispense very well with the middle term" as Firth puts it, and "Improve upon nature by control and arrangement" quite nicely.