You seriously need to read the Walker Evans book "The Hungry Eye". From start to finish. I just finished going through it and I think I have advanced some in my own thinking.Taken those conditions into consideration, what then is artistic about that which we (you and I) produce? Since most of us are human beings at the very core of our condition...that furthermore our work is not singular in point of address, what conditions of human experience are we addressing in the production of our photographs? Does the record of the existence of a tree, a stream, clouds in a sky, the interior of a temple, address anything about the conditions that human beings experience? How does illustration of these "known objects" lead to any universal acceptance by others and how does the illustration of these "known objects" speak to the matters of hope, fear, despair, lonliness, joy, sorrow, hunger, plenty, peace, or unrest within the soul of man?
It's a lot like pain, I am in my 7th year of physical pain from an accident. It fluxuates from mild to severe. I had very hard time trying to explain it because it can't be taken out and put on a counter, looked at, qualified, quantified or measured against any other except the crude "on a scale of 1 to 10" gauge.
My wife, who is a nurse, said to me "Pain is what you say it is". So when someone tells me what my pain is, how do they know? It's what I say it is.
Way back when we were children and got our hands on some materials, any kind of materials, and started to make "things" we called it Art. Have you ever asked a child what they are making and they said "Art"? Art is what they say it is. We may think it is poor art, we may think it is brilliant art, or we may think that it is not art at all. It doesnt' matter, it's what the child says it is.