The problem I see in your argument is that it is content/craft centric rather than expression/art centric.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was already expressing himself when photography came into his life in earnest, he was already a trained artist, a big part of his motivation to use photography was to be able to "instantly draw a picture", his idea paraphrased by me. HCB switched buses, to use your metaphore, to using a camera because it meant he could automate his work, the camera was just a tool to make drawings with and it even allowed him to hire out the printing process. He already knew where he wanted to go.
Adams fell in love with Yosemite and the outdoors first, then photography gave him a way to share it.
Much too often photography and movements/schools within photography (and other crafts/skill sets), like pictorialism and west coast styles and Lith and Wet Pkate, simply become answers looking for a questions, tools looking for jobs.
Business thrives on repeating things over and over, most galleries I have ever seen find a type of subject that works and stick with it, because that is what their clients come to expect. Artists do the same thing, they dig their own ruts. Makes life easy and keeps food on the table.
f/64 did this to themselves, they defined a common style so that the members could get more gallery showings. It is spelled out in their manifesto. That common style allowed galleries to rotate between all the f/64 artists while maintaining a very specific style. In short it made gallery marketing easier.
That business model became f/64's rut.