I might have been a bit too categorical when expressing my opinion, but if we start talking about art that might require a complete new thread… and I don't think it's the purpose of this Forum any way.
First of all: What is Art ???… BIG question isn't it ?
What follows is only my opinion and conviction, and I don't expect anyone to agree with it, because it's such a vast subject !
In my humble opinion, art is the expression of someone feelings. It is a very very selfish process in fact. Many "artists" will say that they want to transmit to others what their emotions are and share the latter with them, and it's possible that they are very sincere. But subconsciously, they just wish to exteriorize their feelings, and the fact that they have a public or not is irrelevant. And that goes for every type of means to express oneself: Painting, music, writing, cinema, photography, sculpture, modeling, knitting, welding, cooking, paper folding, etc, etc, you name it… But that doesn't necessarily means that these people are artists. I know a lot of guys who have a hobby and practice it day after day, after day, for years, but what they produce is average at the best. Don't get me wrong ! This is OK ! If they enjoy themselves and if they are creative, that's even better, and, in fact, they are the happiest people in the world. I hate to think what life could be without being creative. Boring to say the least !… I personally "torture" a guitar from time to time, and I am terrible at it, but I enjoy it, and I keep in mind that this definitely doesn't make me an artist ! The same applies to people who practice any hobby and are happy with it. I also admire these guys because they have faith.
So, what makes one of these people an artist ?… Imagination, creativity, and technique. If learning imagination and creativity is difficult - if not impossible - everyone can learn technique. And that is number One pre-requisite ! Without technique, no one can become an artist. That requires many many years or hard work plus imagination and creativity. Take any one of those three away, and you'll get nowhere.
But that doesn't mean that these people will produce a piece of art every time they work on a project and complete it. To me, a piece of art is something which is nice to see, nice to hear, to taste, etc. It first has to be technically perfect. Then it has to have harmony, good taste, and it has to make you want to go back to it, and - if you can afford it - buy it so that you have it at home and can enjoy it for the rest of your life.
So, back to the original subject of this thread: Is this guy an artist ? Not in my opinion, but he does have a hobby which he pursues with all the love he has. Are his pictures pieces of art ? No, but they are very interesting. They are a curiosity from many different points of view. And for that, he deserves our attention and admiration, but he is not an artist.
What I would call true pieces of art are Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Stravinsky "Sacre du Printemps", Barber's Adagio, many paintings by Titien, etc… and of course, many photos by Cartier Bresson, Ansell Adams, Robert Doisneau, and many others…
You may not agree with all this but that's what I call Art. I shall be pleased to hear what you all think, whether you agree or disagree. We, members of this forum, may not be artists, but as long as we love what we do, enjoy taking pictures, retouching them, and trying new things, we're on the right tracks !