“Our civilization is starving for great images.”
I really love some of the great darkroom artists and agree, even though John Sexton's images don't do much for me, I'd love to see him pottering about in the darkroom - because this is the place where he really becomes the artist he is. I think you intuitively get that. But (and I've expressed this before) I feel that there is a reaction amongst analog photographers to retreat to the darkroom, when - with Herzog's sentiment in mind - more vital at this cultural, political, economic moment is a deeper interaction with what is happening (visually) in our world. And this applies to the young computer bound as well as the old fashioned shut-ins, who really, really just don't get out enough. I personally don't see any difference between a digital photographer 'shooting from the hip' thinking he/she can remedy mediocrity on the computer, and analog photographers who do the same in the darkroom.
There is no inherent value in the traditional image beyond its purity of means, and the purest way to make photographs in turn is to show people the world with a direct intensity that forces viewers to ask questions about it, not the material.
Speaking of Herzog. The other great visually motivated film maker, Kubrick, made so many subtle references to his craft which cinema aficionados pick up on - especially the Shining - but these things are purposefully and masterfully rendered incidental to the majority, in what is his most populist film. I wish more analog photographers could let their intentionality of craft speak a lot quieter in the way great film makers are able to do, allowing the content/narrative/message/whatever you call it, to take center stage.
PKM-25 - you often leave comments here urging people to just go out and shoot and I get the impression the reason you're not exhibiting around the globe, publishing books etc. (which you seem to want to do) is because you value the craft above all else. There's a lot of evidence on APUG that there's nothing more inhibiting.