From what I gather, the photos are a function of frequency. People either can't afford those restaurants on regular basis, or the restaurants are too difficult to visit on a relatively constant basis (distance, reservation, etc), thus they seek to capture those precious memories. You don't see people taking photos at MCD, do you? So in that manner, I understand the reasoning, thus I don't judge these people.
I believe this is an example of the trickle down theory based on what I call the "Bourdain Phenomenon." Guys like Bourdain made cooks popular - much more so than the Golden Years of FoodTV where Emeril and Mario had their own shows - evolving the historical relationship between customer and chef. This changed gastronomy to what we perceive nowadays. Think about how many "chef-driven" restaurants you see nowadays...even pubs. Chefs (regardless of objective talent, let us be real for a second) want the customers to experience their perspective on gastronomy, because largely, most people have horrible taste (true).
While this statement may shock most, it is an objective truth. Top chefs (even bad ones) achieve years, decades of *professional education and field experience* on what most people pass through as a daily routine. Therefore, what is going on now is that chefs are seeking to teach the public about how to understand the concept of food. Before people get defensive and say "I have x experience in eating, I know what I like," think about the atrocious beers and pink wines you used to drink in your earlier years; You don't know anything. Approach with the open mind that you know nothing. One could make the argument that those who disagree would also make the platitude that a sorority girl-turned housewife with 30 years of drinking experience has the same level of experience in oenology as Robert Parker.
As for asking to remove an ingredient, a customer may simply want to experience the lesson that the chef is trying to provide, but is unable to partake fully. It depends on the person, so I can't judge that.
Whatever minute the community, if the base becomes saturated enough, there will be a following of a sort. Certain chefs have attained that following, and for some "foodies," it's kind of like meeting a celebrity. I am sure you experience the same sometimes Rob.
I could say the same for any sort of gathering in crowded spaces, ie airplanes. Who wants to start a 18yr+ airline!?