I'm definately not going to start to argue weather art=beauty or not, as that one hasn't been resolved in the last 2 thousand years!
Personally I don't think its that important either way...
A professional photographer will frequently take 100+ pictures to get the one they want. They willl vary exposure, aperture etc. They will vary the developing solution, time in solution, print exposure, and that's before considering any filters. They do this because they cannot always get exactly what they aim for, and so have to scatter their approach to get the best result - although this may not even be the best possible result! This is not so very different from taking 100+ fractal images from around the same coordinates and choosing one as the best - although knowing the best point to start from is also an artistic value judgement.
The essential aspect of both proccesses is that the operator involved makes a choice
based on their artistic ability and appreciation, thus producing art from chaos. The painter or sculptor also has this choice, but one stage earlier as they don't need to winnow through physical alternatives - they can do this mentaly with each step of the production, always making an artistic desision on how to procceed. None of this is altered if anyone can use the same tools as the artist and recreate the same image.
The art is in the choice.