Chris, read Image Clarity by John Williams for answer to your question.
I'm most influenced by the West Coast photographers (Adams, Weston et al). They were rebelling against those who thought photography should emulate other art forms. Today, Photoshop is the easy way to emulation. The strength of film photography (B&W) has been the clarity of image & tonal range. On occasion, you can create a print that transcends the rendering of the subject; then the print becomes an object. Shortcuts - grain, cross-processing film, etc. - are available to those who want to achieve the print as object goal.