Extend this to asteroid tracking and it may be the difference between human survival and extinction.
I am fond of the humans and so I would like them to survive, but only because that is a means for them to be conscious, at least in some cases.
Thus if photography is required and the only thing that makes it possible then it as a means becomes and end to it's self.
Consider, in a pure nitrogen environment animals will suffocate under no great distress. The goal has become separated from the result.
PS: As to your final central point, some feel keeping a loved one alive even if they never recover consciousness is a net good.