The camera looks, the photographer sees...
The essential element in any image is energy, whether it's the energy of the subject in a dynamic portrait or the environmental energy in a landscape; whether it's explicit in movement, or implicit in mood.
Those who believe post-processing is creative heresy fail to appreciate the many hours, days, sometimes years the great pioneers of photography spent in the darkroom interpreting and re-interpreting their iconic work to convey that intrinsic energy.
In the words of Ansel Adams: You don't take a photograph, you make it.
The photographer's challenge is to seduce the viewer into the visual narrative.