Have you ever walked through a gallery and looked at something and wondered, “What makes that art?” I have. The answer; concept.
Concept is important. Some may argue that it’s more important even than the final product, which is why you can often find lengthy discourses written by art grad students explaining their work, how it came about, and what it means. Listening to it is enough to make most people, myself especially, want to leap from tall buildings. Mostly I disagree. Much like writing on your work, I feel that as a visual artist if you have to explain what your work means you’ve basically failed.
That’s not to say that concept is not important. Concept is very important, especially for photographers in this digital age. Anyone with an iPhone is a photographer in much the same way that anyone with a hammer is a carpenter. Not having a concept is akin to not having blueprints.
That’s also not to say that your concept needs to be blatantly obvious. In fact, I find that the more elusive a concept is, the more I generally enjoy a piece.