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...your use of the tonal range is a bit like having a box of 256 crayons and only using half of them...
I guess this is where we see differently. To continue your crayon analogy, just because I have 256 crayons in the box doesn't mean I have to use every single one of them every time I sit down to color.
The photographer stated he was drawn to make the image because "of the lines and contrasting black and whites". He was successful in capturing what motivated him. He made good use of "the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection" to raise the tonality of the building facade to accentuate the play of blacks and whites. His rendition is more interesting than your rework that attempts to add a longer range of tonality.
Capturing a full range of tones in every image you create seems to be your goal, and it is a fine and noble goal. However, that may not be the same goal others have. Using your goal to measure the work of others and concluding their work falls short because it doesn't meet your goal doesn't give them proper credit.
I'm reminded of two philosophies prevelent in the first half of the 20th Century. There was a group of pictorialists and among them were the Photo Secessionists. As a response to their viewpoint, another group, Group f/64 arose. Both groups had very different viewpoints, yet there are photographs produced by the differing philosophies which are heralded as some of the finest examples of photography. However, if you measured a Photo Secessionist photograph by the goals of Group f/64, it would fall short.
It's the same with portraiture. I don't measure a portrait by Joseph Karsh the same way I measure a portrait by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Also, I may prefer one type of portraiture over the other, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate them both.