I am pivoting slightly here in my assertion - I have a well-developed philosophy of the artist (not of art or aesthetics) where I distinguish what is an artist as opposed to a hobbyist or practitioner. For me, if you want to claim the mantle of an artist, you need to develop an independent voice which you believe to be valuable, not only in what you are saying but how you choose to say it. An artist can be solitary (e.g., never show their work to anyone else) or communal (e.g., show everybody everything) but fundamentally, the artist is somebody who is trying to speak about the reality of themselves or about the reality of how the world presents itself to them. Beethoven went deaf at the end of his life and his work at the time reflects the frustration and anger of the situation; Michelangelo, regardless of the financial or political reasons for his work, must have had a rich spiritual inner-life in order to paint the Sistine Chapel; Ansel Adams was overwhelmed by the beauty he saw in Yosemite and wanted express what that beauty meant to him in a more concrete manner than simple snapshots allowed. The question for me is why did they choose to use the medium that they did - Beethoven was forced into music by his father but why did he choose to compose symphonies as opposed to just sonatas (I know he did both but nobody writes 9 symphonies without some love of them). Michelangelo was often pushed into certain commissions by his patrons but could have chosen to work solely with paint or fresco or stone (would the statue of David be as inspiring if it had been a fresco as opposed to a sculpture?).
But why did the photographer choose photography? Why does the painter choose painting? Surely, they could choose a different art and with sufficient sweat and time, become proficient at it? If you chose to be a photographer because it allows you to most accurately express your voice, I accept that. If you chose photography because you think it is easier than other arts, then you are not really making art, regardless of how well it sells. Yes, that is snobbish and I accept that. But, if you are truly trying to be an artist, you must give your all to your craft, including your mental sweat as to understand why it is what you do. I suspect there are a lot of practitioners of photography who will take offense at these statements but my communication with artists (of all mediums) seems to uphold these thoughts. I have dabbled in other arts and the compulsion to return to photography keeps driving me back to the camera - if some of that compulsion one day drives me to making cabinets or baking bread, perhaps I will be an artist in those mediums but I am a photographer because I am inwardly driven towards it and it allows me to express myself in the way that my "soul" demands.
If you want to be a photographer as a hobbyist, I have no problem with that and I am glad you get some satisfaction from the practice. But if you want to be a photographer as an artist, you must give more. Some of my photographs are art, some are not and only I know the difference - but I know that difference!