Some people became interested in photography because they saw a memorable picture: the unknown GI kissing an anonymous woman in times square the day World War II ended, the American flag being hoisted on Iwo Jima, or the alleged photo of the Loch Ness monster (almost certainly a fake). That was in the day of film photography, when equipment was expensive and anyone who wanted to take a decent photograph needed some specialized knowledge. Photography as a hobby was fairly widespread, but not ubiquitous as it is today.
Digital cameras changed everything, and the advent of cell phones with photo capability has made virtually everyone into an amateur photographer. Snapping a few shots with a cell phone seems to have an addictive effect. It’s not a big step from taking a picture of a friend waving goodby to adopting photography as a hobby. Today, with inexpensive digital cameras, no fussing with film, and sophisticated editing software, it’s easy to get into photography—and not difficult to end up with a professional-looking final print, or at least an interesting shot that can be shared on the internet.
Some people get into photography as a hobby to develop a record of important events or things they’ve seen: baby’s first step; the Taj Mahal; Mom’s face at her surprise 60th birthday party. Nobody goes on vacation these days without a camera, and even in casual circumstances, if anything that might be considered memorable comes up (or even if it’s not memorable at all), someone is bound to pull out a camera or cell phone and start clicking.
Different hobbies cost different amounts of money to get into, and the ongoing expenses vary greatly. A fisherman can start with a rod and reel that costs a few dollars, but anyone who gets serious about fishing as a hobby will buy a boat and lots of tackle, and the cost will soon escalate into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. And though sophisticated lenses and cameras are expensive, anyone can be a reasonably serious photographer for an investment of a few hundred dollars.
With digital memory at a minuscule price compared to film or fishing tackle, the photography hobbyist can have fun and make memorable pictures with a modest digital camera, a computer and inexpensive photo editing software. A hobby that’s cheap and easy – how can you beat it?