OK QG - I think you just enjoy being contrary! But that's fine. The devil sometimes needs an advocate. Although I personally don't think that "fine art" has any fixed meaning in the world of photography, and generally avoid using the term myself, I will play along with you.

My dictionary here says that fine art is "art produced chiefly to appeal to the sense of beauty". This is a pretty narrow definition, and clearly many would disagree that the concept is so limited (at least in relation to photography). Nevertheless this seems to be the sort of definition you had in mind above when you defined fine art as pretentious craft portraying only pretty things.

So, even assuming this dictionary definition, why is photography that is directed solely at portraying beauty necessarily pretentious? Why must it only be "craft"? (I am happy to draw a distinction between art and craft, although I think good craft is almost always part of good art.) If a photographer can present a subject that is not often seen, or in a way that it is not often seen, and show you the beauty of it, that seems like something that might legitimately be called art, no? Art, even good art, need not necessarily involve a statement beyond "Behold the beauty here that you have never noticed before". To do this well often requires some vision, beyond mere craft. Of course, what amounts to beauty anyway is a further can of worms again.