What are you trying to communicate? Where should the viewer to focus? What makes the image pop?
John Singer Sargent sawed his brush off, too. I presume it was for the reason I cited: sometimes you need to saw off a brush to fit in your pocket.
Techniques include drawing with fingers or charcoal, applying pigment with ‘brushes’ made of hair or moss, and blowing the pigment on a stencil …with, for instance, a hollow bone.
He was ambidextrous & worked with brushes in either hand. The freshness of his work proved his restraint.
We accept this in a photo because we are conditioned to understanding that photos present images that differ from how we see. If this were a painting, it would be confusing.
It was critical observation that allowed Sir Isaac Newton to define gravity after watching an apple fall to the earth from a tree.
The boardwalk is floating over a bog. So it is a marsh below and surrounding the walkway…but it would easily swallow any brush, bag, or cell phone that happened to slip toward the edge.