PeterNixey: Everything you need to know about IOS is summed up in the process of getting photos into the iPad Photo app.
Apple couldn't care less about file management; it just wants to sell stuff through the iTunes store.
If you think it's crap using iPhoto, try iTunes for Windows, Apple's half-baked attempt at cobbling a file manager out of a music player. It doesn't even have a media section for photos.
Your only option is replicate a folder on your "authorized PC". If you try to upload a photo from any other PC it wants to delete all your apps.
The iPad is defined by what it won't do; not by what it can't do. Everything that's wrong about it is by deliberate design.