I guess the issue is caught up in the fact that iTunes doesn't manage photos natively. On a Mac you use iPhoto, on a PC... you use something else.
However, syncing certain collections of photos - what's wrong with that? It's what i do on my Mac using the iTunes/iPhoto combo.
I already manage my photos in way that I can refer to them by date, collection, topic etc. I just tick a box in iTunes and the ones I want are on my iPad/iPhone.
So, maybe try resisting a little less and see if you can change your workflow so that things work for you?