Lots of interesting viewpoints here and all are valid. For myself, I prefer to see an image that while being impressive is still believable. It's nice to know that you could have been there witnessing that spectacle, rather than looking at it and thinking "impressive but impossible in real life".
Gnarky quotes "What the important audience wants now is the narrative, the story,"
The story doesn't come from a bunch of layers in Photoshop, it comes from the skill of the photographer in first seeing the image, capturing it effectively, then processing it to produce a striking, but believable image. Maybe I am just a boring photographer
The other side of the story is if you do choose to produce an art image, do it well. I personally know photographers that are absolute top of the tree in producing art images. Their work is outstanding and flawless, unlike the images originally presented here. As I said at the beginning, first impressions are good but that is quickly followed by disappointment.