1. Don't use iPhoto. The whole point of the App is that it replaces the Finder for anything to do with your photos. That's not what you want, so the obvious thing is to use an app that works the way you like.
If you want to get photos out of iPhoto, it's pretty simple: For help accessing your photos in iPhoto see this user tip:
This User Tip
has details of the options in the Export dialogue.
2. You have complete freedom to control your own files. But iPhoto is not a File manager. It's a Photo manager.
3. You can choose to store your files anywhere you want by running a Referenced Library. However, regardless of where you store your files, you never access them except via the Photo Manager. How to do this - and the many reasons you shouldn't
Thanks for the reply and info. I actually found a solution burried in another thread also.
I keep track of my photos by date and just like to see the list of files.
The answer seems to be to right click on the iphoto library icon and select "show package contents". This gives me the list that I want to view.
Just remember accessign the files that way is not supported.
Don't change anything in the iPhoto Library Folder via the Finder or any other application. iPhoto depends on the structure as well as the contents of this folder. Moving things, renaming things, deleting them or otherwise making changes will prevent iPhoto from working and could even cause you to damage or lose your photos.