Not at all - in the past, I'd say the majority of colour photographers had a lab do up all their prints. Some always provided much more input to the pritning process than others. Some had a favourite printer (who often came to know the photogorpahers style so well that the photogorpaher ended up having to give little input). A good few basiucally gave broad instructions to the lab and let the pritner do their stuff.
Originally Posted by Sean
In fact, digital work (by which I mean here work made from scans from negs/trannies) has had something of the opposite effect, with many colour photographers becoming much more invloved in the printing side - at least "pre-prodcution" - as they can now exercise a great deal more control over their work than the "skilled pritner" could in the past. The final work is then sent off to the lab for printing from a master file.
It's not really digital artist who want it to be a non issue - it was always a non-issue.
In the past, buy an expensive colour print from famous XYZ colour photographer (insert you name of choice) and there was a very good chance it wasn't pritned by him/her - it was just a non iussue. (much of Paul Graham's excellent work was often done at the local High Street photo lab to highlight just this point - it still sold for a few thousand pounds - sells for an awful lot more now). But a "hand crafted" C print - what difference does it make if the picture is a good one? Very little.
In a way, colour work has never been as slavishly tied to the issue of darkroom craft as B&W has - the photogorpaher made the image, the printer printed it.