This is the crux and well worth thinking about. What in the world does what others do have to do with your own opportunities to make the kinds of photos that suit you? What does being more or less equal to others get you, in the realm of photography? I've seen and heard you talk about the photos you make and the slide shows you share. I would hope that you would be content with what you're getting out of producing those things. More than content, I hope it's exhilarating and rewarding. It's always sounded to me like it was. Why does what someone down the block does with photoshop impact what you do without it? Really worth emphasizing and thinking about. Are you entering and losing competitions? Are you not selling as well as you did when everyone was supposedly more equal? What's going on that you insist on seeing yourself as somehow diminished because of what other people choose to do? Not to mention what QG has already pointed out, which is that you have a skewed and, I believe, false understanding of how things used to be. People have been doing all kinds of things in the darkroom since the inception of photography. So, the playing field was never equal in the terms you're thinking. On the other hand, where the playing field IS equal is that everyone is free to make photos the way they see fit.