It's very difficult to tell the quality of a print from a reproduction, especially one displayed on a CRT. What appears to be "too dark" in the reproduction may be okay when viewed in person. This holds true even for really well done repro work such as that for books. I can remember seeing Ansel Adams and Edward Weston's work published as high-cost duotone reproductions in monographs and thought they "looked great."
Then I saw the photos in person and, as good as the duotones looked, the real prints were a completely different experience. I think you can only get a "relative impression" of what the work really looks like in a reproduction, and you have to factor that into your overall evaluation.
Also, I think display of photos on the Internet has several inherent deficiencies. The most important is that the photos are never displayed at an optimum size for the subject. I have many photos that just don't work when they're small, and require a large size so that the spaces contained in the photo "open up" and allow the viewer into the photo. Bigger is not always better, but in some cases, it is essential for the piece to work properly.
As an example, I remember being in art history and looking at "Blue Boy" and "Guernica" and thinking, "okay, they're interesting, but just what's the big deal here?" Then I got to see the paintings in person. Let's just say it was quite a revelation. That's when I became a believer that every work has a "correct size," and it's as important to determine the optimum size as it is to ensure the final photo is printed correctly.
The second really big problem is resolution. I have a number of photos that I have digitized for Internet display and have discarded the idea because they need the resolution of the actual print before they "work." Once digitized and put into JPG format, and displayed at 72 dpi, they're no longer interesting because the detail must be seen for them to be meaningful.
As for the selective focus of the photos - I've seen it done before, this is hardly a "new technique." If I went home & looked through some of my recent photo book acquistions, I'll bet I can find at least 3 other people using the SAME technique.