I would still maintain that there are no absolutes in this world, even given truths are fixed identities for a certain epoch in time.
Sure, one may bring out examples of classical Western forms of beauty and elegance, e.g Grecian sculpture/lacquerware, Roman architecture, the Parisian Opera House and so on. I think a uniform concept of beauty applies to the extent that the audience requires it to stand by itself.
For example, the image of a plump human being is certainly not seen as a societal representation of beauty/virility/"hawt-ness", but in certain historical periods in other civilisations, the codes of beauty were radically different from what we might deem as beautiful. A nude man strolling in public would have been lauded by the Greeks for his sense of pride yet the very same chap would be booked and hauled in for public indecency.
Perhaps I digress.
What would it really prove to hold art to a single unifying position of beauty but to shatter the very foundation of what art means? Yes, we may feel nauseous at certain works of art because they offend our personal sensibility, but if we play the numbers game, the laws of probability would make a universal concept of beauty or photographic excellence moot at some point.
All said and done, while we can express our displeasure at certain works based on our own referential point, it's simply impossible to have a single, unifying standard that will apply because we're all individuals. And human perception of beauty in my opinion is a lovely thing because it's almost like asking if the cat in Schrodinger's box is alive, dead or in-between..one never knows if what he or she deems ugly may be accepted by another.
You're right to a certain extent when you mentioned the relative nature of beauty and that has already eroded the aspect of uniformity in itself..
I guess when all's said and done, we will always lobby as individuals or groups, for that's all we can do realistically.
Perhaps this debate will ignite a greater urge for everyone to shoot more and reflect on what it means to create art if it relatively condemned than applauded.