I find this a very challenging topic to be clear about. If person 'x' finds images a,b,c artful, and if a,b,c have a certain aesthetic (deep vignetting, selective color), I think it's perfectly reasonable for x to apply those effects to their images. In a sense they are arbitrarily applied, I agree, but in a sense they aren't: x is attempting to engage in the language as expressed by images a,b,c.
If we can tease 'content' from 'style' & 'form' -- and I think that's hard to do, I agree that the person engaging in this process is likely failing to think about their contribution to content and certainly style. But I think that's okay.
gonzogolf wrote in post #16793211
You have a point. But the counterpoint is that far too many people get caught up in applying crappy post effects in pursuit of creating art. It inhibits growth in the actual artistry of photography which gives you a much better basis to then explore expression.