The answer to your question, dear Mark, has something to do with the role of photography. I’m not an expert on the history of art but it seems to me that until photography came around, art was a serious medium that was used to depict portraits and landscapes in a very responsible manner. But once photography assumed this important job, the artists were free to begin doing abstract and other types of visual interpretation. So photography was pretty much left with making portraits, landscapes and documenting events. This is very nice and nothing is wrong with it. But this doesn’t mean photography can’t be used in other ways. Despite its scientific and mechanical nature, it can even be an artistic medium.
Now, you call it “destroying your pictures” but I see it as “presenting my images in a non-traditional form” which is just one step in the process of making photos. This is why I prefer the term “making photos” and not “taking photos”. Photography can be a process of creating something artistic which is shaped by many steps such as: choosing the camera and film, locating the image, selecting the desired settings, making the exposure, developing and printing the photograph and finally presenting the image.
It is never “as is”. I’m not even sure what “as is” really means.
The bottom line is that photography does not have to be confined to a single limited view of its function and it should always be characterized and defined by the individual photographer.
So mark, I tried answering your question seriously, I hope it works for you.
Now, excuse me, I have to go destroy, I mean, distress a print or two.