nice article. it certainly looks like a fascinating show.
one thing you wrote did give me pause though...
One alters a physical object at distance while the other preserves that object in time
though on the surface this statement seems true, i would argue that both (gun and camera) can alter the object at a distance and you go on to illustrate how this phenomenon happens in photography with the reactions people have towards the prospect of being photographed.
public awareness of the power of photography has caused your average person to near instantly "change" when confronted by a lens. whether that change is positive or negative is inconsequential as it is the change itself that is often unwelcome by the photographer. how difficult has it become to document the true state of human nature as compared to the times of say Dorthea Lange, Cartier-Bresson, or Alfred Stieglitz?
what was also interesting to me is your dismissing of your own qualifications to consume, process, and understand art. whenever someone is so self defacing i feel the need to attempt to demystify the subject.
if you go back and look at art throughout human history (from cave paintings to the renaissance to the latest modern movements) the common thread is simply an effort to communicate an idea or experience. it is truly that simple. too often a viewer assumes that an artwork is "above" them because they do not understand it but the truth can be any number of possibilities that include that individual not being a part of the intended audience or that the artist didn't effectively communicate the intended idea or that there is no attempt at communicating anything to the viewer at all. in this last case i would argue that the viewer is not actually looking at "art" but instead something trying to resemble art.
when i studied the history of photography i found it very interesting that early in its adolescence, the medium shifted from a scientific curiosity to avent-garde art form as artists like Julia Margaret Cameron, Henry Fox Talbot, and Henry Peach Robinson employed it during the pictorialist movement. it wasn't until Stieglitz and Steichen championed photography's merits as an artform that the establishment started to take it seriously outside of a documentary role. it was argued that photography relied far too heavily on mechanisms and an "artist's hand" couldn't be present amongst such heavy reliance upon technique. 100 years later and i think it is clear that that is not the case.
maybe the confusion comes from the waters being ever more muddied....anything is art regardless of the effort or intent. i refuse to accept this myself. there is plenty out there that is definitely NOT art but i think your average person (including yourself) is quite capable and naturally equipped to experience and discern what art is.
i actually think your article proves your ability to know what art is as the show clearly communicated something to you with which you then shared with us.