don...
i like your post very much. if u think this way, just use this perioud and implemante things that comes in your mind. i mean in makeing photography. u will totaly benefit fromit. it may be not eassy to go further and beyound, to build or rebuild, but it worth to try it, especially when u talk in the mood i here in your comment.
about hte blacks u talk in b.westons works and the heavy prints in e.westons... and u can give more examples like old steiglitz with okeefe or more modern ralph gibson...
well, we take things like "symbols" and we assosiate it with something. in the case u talk the blaks that leads our visual experiance from that print to some mystery in our feeling. we create codes. that is art.
read my topic in this form about "principles of photography as art form" - i gave there an epistemological account and its possible outcomes on the level of our coscious behaviour. sorry if it is a bit difficult to read.