In music; if you had to start at the very beginning, you would start with “Doe, Ray, Me” or so the song goes. In art it would be “Line, Texture, and Light.” Keep in mind that if you want to be a great photographer, you also want to be a great Artist. Anybody can go out and buy a cheap camera, and push the button. That does not make them a great photographer. But the truly great ones like: Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston all had one thing in common. These people knew art and the elements of design.
It is hard to think of a 5 x 7 camera on a 45 pound tripod as the same kind of tool as a 2 pound 10 mega pixel wonder that we use today. They are as different as day and night, aren't they?? In my opinion, no. They are the tools we use to create. No body asks the carpenter what brand of hammer he uses, they look at the end result.
The end result comes from knowledge, insight and experience. Things like leading lines, the rule of thirds, and formal or informal balance goes beyond the tools you use to create them with. Some will argue that you can not teach creativity. Again I disagree. With over 30 years experience in photography, I find it is my background in art and concepts like the elements of design that sets my work apart. To be a great artist you do not need to know anything about photography, but . . . to be a great Photographer, you must be a great artist.