I must disagree with the reference to painting and the process of painting. The process of Painting and the process of Photography have absobutely nothing in common. Even though photography came about because of the desire of a one indivivdual to simplify painting due to the lack of personal skill.
I can only think of one aspect of painting that "might" be similiar to photograghy, and that is a "big maybe". . . . Both processes may be accomplished on a flat surface. The "intentions" of a photographer and the "intentions" an artist can not be used to associate these two unique crafts.
1. I have never painted a portrait with a camera.
2. I have never photographed a person with oil paints, turpentine, and a brush.
Although artists and photographers take certain liberties to "make perfect" their craft, so do bankers, lawyers, dentists, mechanics, teachers, and Enron Exectutives. The later being under the microscope for excessive PS cutting and pasting.
If you doctor your photography to the point ultimately misrepresenting the subject, then you're an "artist of sorts". If your photographs represent the subject accurately, then your'e a damn fine photographer and you should be proud. I want to be a "damn good photographer". If that doesn't work out, then I'll settle for "artist of sorts".