An interesting observation. At the beginning of the year, I was at a school camp in a nice dark spot, and got some nice images of the southern sky:
Now the one on the left is what the reality looked like. The faintest stars you can see are around 5 or 6 magnitude, and the "coal sack", the dark spot to the right of the Southern Cross is just visible.
The one on the left is a full 30' exposure, hit with a fairly strong unsharp mask, and then had its contrast tweaked to really make it pop a bit.
In 6 days, the tweaked - unreal - image already has 50% of the hits that the 'real' image has achieved in 6 months, including being on my home page! I suspect it will carry on acquiring looks at a faster rate, although it will decline a little.
But it just reinforces what we all know- we want to see good looking images, not real-looking images - be they of people, places, products or the sky. The challenge is that documentary, photojournalistic type work is about recording reality, as it happened. Important, useful images are lost, and others are 'adjusted', to make a sale or garner hits.
I think future historians are going to look back in some confusion and amazement at the record we have created.