so, i'm browsing deviant art, like i usually do when i'm not lj whoring. and i run across this. i then start reading the comments and get immediately pissed off at some guy arguing with the guy who shot the piece and then jump in and start being all formalist (gary would be so proud).
this guy is all advocating sterile, boring composition, so i check his gallery, and sure enough it's full of stagnant uninteresting composition. it's really quite sad when someone shoots someone else down for pushing the medium. that's not how good art comes about. good art isn't simply about following the principles and elements of art/design word for word. it's understanding how line, shape, form, perspective, texture, and color work together to create emphasis, variety, rhythm, unity and the other two that i can't remember (i suck at the remembering thing sometimes), and using that understanding to bend the elements and principles to make a good piece.
sure, you can follow the directions and you'll get an aesthetically pleasing work. but it will have no style. it will have the look of stock photography in a cheap magazine, just... blah.