The epiphany that all is not technique is not terribly earth shaking. I often find myself walking a tightrope with inexperienced photographers in regards to the value of technique – sometimes the means just don't justify the end. The best advice I was ever given, not only concerning photography, and that which I parrot from time to time is that you have to know the rules, and then you have to know when to break them. (or maybe the more colloquial, hold 'em, fold 'em, Kenny Rogers said it best?) But students will all too often use this advice as an excuse not to learn proper technique, and go their "own" way. It is extraordinarily rare that pure talent ever wins out in this circumstance, and this attitude simply wrecks havoc in the lab. Fortunately for me, many of these artistic geniuses have left the room for digital processes.
For myself, and who really cares, I own and use but a few cameras and lenses, one in each basic format, and execute prints in a relatively spartan darkroom, void of time-saving gadgetry and processing equipment. It is another reason why I prefer the elegant simplicity of monchrome. There's just less to go wrong that I cannot ultimately attribute to myself. I dare say my dearth of gear puts me at odds with the majority of APUG'ers, for whom GAS is a frequent topic of discussion.
In the end, it is only the final image's emotional connection to the viewer, regardless of subject, that really matters.