Of course the level of technical skill you need depends on what you're trying to achieve. But if you want an audience then you'd better be good enough to satisfy them. (Tichy wasn't looking for an audience so he's a special case.)
For example, are your technical skills (exposure, development, printing, etc.) good enough to enable you to consistently make satisfying prints? And do they satisfy both you and your potential audience? If not, then you probably need to gain more technical skills. Or are there specific situations in which you'd like to be able to make something but currently can't? If there are, then it's probably worth learning some more technical skills.
But if the making is its own reward, or if both you and your audience are satisfied with what you make, then searching for more technical skills is at best an academic exercise and at worst a distraction.
How have you discerned that Tichy wasn't looking for an audience/market/way to make a living off his art?
Just to clarify, by 'stored in boxes' I mean dumped any old how around his shack: in boxes, on the floor, and anywhere else that they fell.
His photos were fascinating and compulsive to look at. Here's what I said at the time:
As 2F/2F says, there a very limited minimum set of skills needed to work in photography. Artists out of other fields take up photography all the time, often with results humbling the technique-enamoured amateur.
So, once you got the basics down pat, it's just a question about wanting to do art. There are creative techniques, too. Looking, hearing, feeling, experiencing artworks with the expectation of a synesthetic experience is one. Project work is another. This is, sadly, less often taught than technical skills. I suspect it's because no equipment sales come out of it ;)
So in our terms John - Craft - is technique and skill (Craft [Verb] is the hand made bit, not really used that way in photography)
However it's still just craft as you learn & improve skills, and understand more, not everyone (any field) with good or even great craft is going to produce art.
The basic craft isn't difficult and it's quite simple, it's just having the discipline to learn how to get the best from one at the most two films initially, and a developer, and of course the equipment used.
This always starts with the negative because with a good negative you have the possibility of interpreting it in different ways in the darkroom.
There are international renowned artist/photographers who have worked that way for years, and a good example is John Blakemore who shoots only FP4 processed in ID-11 for his early landscapes and later still life work (5x4). He works differently with 35mm using HP5 but again in ID-11. A simple choice but John's honing of technique, choice of exposure & development gives him immense freedom to produce amazing work. (Worth listening to the Audio link on this page http://www.lensculture.com/blakemore.html#)
Salgado was working just as simply usually with one film Tri-X, now also 6x7 as well as 35mm, and I think his work was lab processed to his directions. He now shoots digital.
Two very different ways of working, and in John's case total mastery of the negative stage, which carries on through in his printing skills as well.
The easiest way to learn to hone the core skills is on a workshop, a good one integrates the craft alongside the art/photography of a leading photographer with a separate course leader. In addition they usually incorporate discussion & examples of the other issues “phaedrus” mentions, like project work, methods of presentation, maybe sequencing, etc, as well as critique sessions of participants work. You can learn far more in 3-5 days on a workshop than possibly a year from books etc in isolation wasting time and materials.
Lucky accidents happen to unskilled people all the time. It is when you have mastered the craft, that the confidence to produce the "lucky accident", when it is elusive, ie "Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico", that separates the artist from the lucky amature. "Fortune favors the prepared mind."