Art photographs are made, not taken. Whether it is in the lighting, technical & artistic skill of the photographer, or through using the tools of creation (software) all are in someway a manipulation of reality. It can be very complex or simple. Here is an example of simple, which I believe added dynamic impact and more focus to the image’s statement.
Unprocessed Image (no manipulation):
The bottom image has only the most simple of software enhancement/manipulation done to it. But in my opinion it is a much more dynamic image, and the removal of the wires and person take it from snap shot to art image. I believe that photographers that insist that “real” photographic art should only be created in camera limit their creative vision.
There are many tools which can be used to enhance images to become art, the key is once again the knowledge and vision of the person creating the art. Photographic art is like any art and requires learning a set of skills, one does not simply just pick up a brush and become a great artist. While some of the tools have easy ways to do the most basic of corrections, and some go a step farther by have a catalog of “looks” the artist can use, in my opinion only the artist who really understands the tools will achieve his/her creative vision. Otherwise you are relying on the computer and a program to take your image to the level of art, which most often results in a mass produced, look-a-like image without soul.