So you're saying these photographs are not as good artistically had they been made on factory-made silver gelatin film and printed in a series of 1000 with photogravure? Or if they had been shot digitally and printed with an inkjet?
Your first sentence deals with what is important in art and the rest a rant on values and rarity, which are 2 different topics. Rarity and value are marketplace considerations which don't enter into the artistic process for me as I don't make art with the marketplace in mind. As to the process of artistic creation, this has been proven time and again to only be important to those who place importance on the process (Andy Warhol, Christopher Jordan, Helmut Newton, etc all worked in ways which remove them from the process at some point, but the marketplace does not care). There is nothing wrong with this and I place a high level of importance on my devotion to my craft, but I don't delude myself into thinking someone else cares how long it took me to pre-soak my paper for proper acidification before coating it in pt/pd.
Edit: My initial post is based on Tony getting the media coverage for how he did it and not what he created, which is where the credit should be given.