Let's stay real. Photographers - visual artists of all kinds - often enthuse about the beauty and unity of everything, using light to reflect the inner self, etc.
And that's all fine, but essentially I make photographs because I enjoy it experientially. I knew that I would the first time I held a "proper" camera in my hands, when my mother showed me the Christmas present she was about to give to my father, around 1981 or 1982 - a Pentax K1000. (He still has it.)
At its most basic level, I don't need to analyze it further (but I do). I still use a good point-and-shooter, or a cell-phone camera, but I like the control-freedom paradox of camera adjustments. Liking adjustments doesn't seem very noble, in and of itself.
I also want to create something beautiful and artistic, certainly, but I don't paint (or dance, thankfully) - I photograph. I like being able to make variations on an image with slightly different framing, or magnification, or depth of field, or exposures. The immediacy of that isn't easily replicated with other visual media.
I like learning to see more actively (yes, all right, I do have an inner self).
The skills involved in photography are largely cerebral. You don't need athleticism (although it helps). I was initially drawn to photography for similar reasons to those that attract people to guitar-playing: you can start making photographs - or music - almost immediately. (Contrast this with learning to sculpt, or to play the violin!) Only later does it become apparent that achieving higher planes is another matter!
Cerebral: there is the sort of photographer, sometimes labelled a "gear-head", who is so enthralled by the technicalities of their equipment that they under-emphasize the art, which involves:
Composition - this is where we succeed (or don't), and where our attention best resides;
Light - as important as composition; get these two "right" and the rest of the technicalities melt away into peripheral importance;
Spark - I don't have a better word for that little, creative something else, but it has to be there too, and merits conscious prioritization.
None of that negates the need for good equipment, or for mastery of its features.
Thanks for visiting!
Charles T. Low