I think photography is the most democratic accessible art. If we think of other art eye-motion coordination is very important, being it playing a musical instrument, painting or dancing. Photography is the only art that I can think off where this is not important.
Anyone who observed a photographer may rightfully note that this is not completely true. The way a photographer approaches the subject, walks around it, moves around trying to setup a tripod, find the best angle is like watching a dancer move. If you’ve been in photography for a while you’ve may noticed that your body got trained to move fluidly and efficiently.
Being the most accessible art it is often confused with being the easiest one. I think that’s what all the companies, many photo magazines, etc are trying to convince you in. You just need to spend a bunch of money on gear, classes and workshops and (voilà!) you have a dream career – traveling around the world and photographing the most interesting places.
Everyone around photography tries to sell you more gear. Let’s look at “Outdoor Photographer”, for example. Enjoying outdoor photography myself I thought that this would be an interesting magazine. What I found though is that it was not about photography – it was about equipment. At some point I decided to get rid of extra pages with advertising, equipment reviews and pages on how to use particular brand of equipment or software. What was left in the end were 2-4 pages per magazine. Even those pages were half covered in advertisement. The conclusion that I’ve arrived to that even with its cheap subscription, the magazine was not worth it. It was not worth my time. (If you know of any magazine about color landscape photography, I’m open for suggestions.)
In the end looks like more and more companies jumping on this “more photography [equipment] for everyone” advertising train. In the end everyone makes money off photography excepts photographers themselves.
My suggestion to those who want to try photography is to start with some cheap camera and a cheap lenses (or maybe camera with built-in lenses). It will serve you good to learn if photography is for you, what you like in photography and what you’ll need. I know quite a few photographers that find out that that first camera is all that they need and do great shots with it.