Take a look at Daido Moriyama. Very little detail in highlights and shadows, but I find his photos irresistibly interesting. Since through their imperfection they tell a great story. He works with trix and d76 if it helps.

I don't think high contrast is anything new introduced in digital. It is just another tool in the toolbox. Personally, on average I find overly detailed photos fairly boring. But then I like the use of negative space and minimalism. I think it adds mystery to photo. IMHO