When I was printing traditional black and white prints (in the darkroom) I had dozens of little tricks to make a print pop or sing or look sexy. I had a Pictrol which is a little contraption you stick under the enlarging lens to soften the corners in an artistic way. The blurred spilled light also enhanced the black tones around the edges. Of course we would burn and dodge but we also stole a technique from 1940's Richard Avedon in which you place very thin tracing paper in contact with the print during printing. You could also do it selectively. Just in areas. The parts that touched the paper were sharper than the parts that didn't. Primitive darkroom "tilt-shift" technique?
We selected paper for effect. And we did full contact, radical toning. With selenium, sepia, gold and even coffee (which never worked as well). And for a while we did lots of art on the print with transparent Mashall's oil paints.
So why the burr under my saddle about modern post processing? Can't imagine it would be anything but jealousy in not having discovered it first, followed by curmudgeon tendencies. So I'm coming clean. I actually like playing around with this stuff and I've been re-working some recent images to re-interpret how I used to print. After all, the Snapseed generation had to find their inspiration somewhere. Right?
If you are bored with your photo work right now you might want to change processing. The water's fine. Jump on in.
edit/addition feb. 2: An interesting article from www.luminous-landscape.com about the "RULES OF PHOTOGRAPHY." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/rules_of_the_game.shtml A fun read, in light of our continuing discussions here.