Photography has the potential to be the most lovely and most annoying of the visual arts: lovely because a well-done photo can be stunning and annoying because any schmuck is prone to thinking they can do it. I can recall going out to the Dallas Arboretum on a lovely spring day, and just about everyone was out with their overpriced cameras taking pictures. Listen, weirdos, anyone can take a picture of a professionally groomed botanical garden and have it come it looking good--it does not a good photographer make! It made me pleased to have a cheap and crappy camera which took quite admirable photos. I think you should have to turn in some quality photos before you can buy an SLR to prove that you deserve one, but then I might rule myself out one day. Anyway, to see some great photography, check out the website of local photographer James H. Evans (most especially the portraits, which you know I love).
The medium of photography intrigues me. I think it can appear to some to not be art in the way a painting is art. I see it as very accidental, but to say that implies that any other art medium always ends up exactly how the artist originally conceived it. Anyway, I can always set out with an intention (like a sculptor or painter) even if nothing ends up as I plan ... not that I should even dare to compare myself to an actual artist--I'm another one of those schmucks, but I didn't spend thousands on my camera. Nyah.
I feel like I still take generic nature photos out here, which makes me wonder if there will always be categories in my mind. Nature photos, artsy photos, family Christmas photos, etc. I hope that professional photographers get out cheap point-and-shoot cameras at holidays and take artless photos like the rest of us ... either that or they put away the camera and make someone else take the artless photos. I don't know which I hope for more. But I'm growing tired of taking pictures of mountains because it just feels too obvious, and it's much more fun to be out there staring at the mountains than looking at a picture of them. It's like what I said about landscapes: It needs to be style over substance.