Composites and heavy editing ARE old school. Dodging and burning are Darkroom concepts, and we had people screwing around and editing images back during the US Civil War.
If your goal is to create a work of art of some kind, and not capture an image for photo journalism, historical reference, or other reason that it should be 'as seen in person', then I say go at it. Use all the tools you have and can that will help you achieve the vision you have in your mind and wish to share with the world.
The only difference is that now you can do it safely in your own home for the price of an average computer, and you aren't really potentially risking your life or health fumbling around with chemicals in an expensive dark room setup with a pile of complex equipment to do all the simple little tricks you want.
If you want to have a photography competition without allowing much editing, then I say we all shoot test targets. Standardised targets for colour and focus, and the perosn who is judged the most mathematically correct wins!
Originally Posted by Lrrpie-CT
I destroy drives for clients all the time. Sometimes, intentionally.