Fred Picker, one of my early photographic mentors, large format camera designer, and owner of Zone VI Studios in Newfane Vermont, would speak to the necessity of both technical and artistic prowess in the development of photographic skills. Fred would harp that enough practice had to be completed such that things like setting up the tripod, leveling the view camera, taking light readings, adjusting shutter speed and aperature, etc., needed to become second nature without thinking. He described once in a newsletter how when he started with a 4x5 view camera, he went out and purposefully set it up and took it down 100 times straight to have it become habit without thinking. Fred's philosophy was that only once all of the technical aspects were understood, could one begin to focus on issues of creativity, as without technical prowess, even the most artistic thought could not be realized on film. To this day, I am surprised at the number of folks who would label themselves photographers, but who truly do not understand the basics of photography, primarily the relationship between light, F-Stops, and shutter speed. Fred also harped upon the same strategy in the darkroom, for both film development and printing. Standardizing everything and remaining consistent...one film, one developer, etc., and learning the exigencies of each.
"The cure is as simple as this: Live your words and live your belief system"
Shannon L. Alder