I agree with many of the opinions expressed here, which either makes me agreeable, a waffler, or perhaps just confused...

The way Jeremy framed the original post gave me the impression that he took it as a given that first technique must be mastered to some level. I suspect that this depends on the person, and I know that there are some that start out with a camera and make strongly personal images without knowing the first thing about photography. Some photographers (Mary Ellen Mark, for example, if my memory is correct) never even learn to operate a camera with what most would consider to be wonderful technique or a great grasp on technical detail. But their 'personal style' can still be seen throughout their work. For others, including the F64 group, the style is highly dependent on the technique. For some people, technique is the chicken, for some the egg, and for all of us, just a tool...