Content trumps technique in photography. Content is what makes extraordinary street photography, for example, stand out from a snapshot of the same scene. But it certainly helps the viewer to understand what the photograph is about if the photographer can skillfully concentrate the essential elements into a clear articulation of intent and statement.
Brooks Jensen, in his Lenswork Blog, posted on 09/27/2012, briefly reminds me of the elements that successful photographs, or, more correctly, the people who make them, accomplish. In mindful application of these elements we accomplish our intent. It's all about "concentration of content" in a purposeful manner.
Normally speaking, the two primary characteristics of photography that we all worked so diligently to control are cropping and the rendition of detail. That is to say, our first and most fundamental act in making photograph is choosing what to include and what to exclude by careful camera placement and lens selection. We then take measures to render the detail with sufficient clarity by focusing critically and selecting a shutter speed appropriate for the necessary camera stabilization. Said more succinctly, we point, we shoot.
Whether it's through cropping, through exposure, through depth of field, or any other technique, the key is to concentrate the content of the photograph through one of these distillation techniques.It is mastery of the "techniques of distillation" that, for some of us, is the life-long pursuit we seem to get better at with practice but are never quite able to arrive at to declare our journey concluded.