I can only remember buying a brand new film camera just once, the rest of what I own are from secondhand shops and eBay. The cheapest one that I'm still using is an underwater camera, the Canon A1 Sureshot. I think I paid around £10 for it on eBay.
I live on the south coast of England which is a few minutes of walk from a nearby beach, and I love taking this camera with me when I go in for a swim. The results are just great and I love the idea of having a different perspective of a city from being underwater. I usually make use of some slide films and cross process them. Mostly with Agfa CT Precisa 100 as it makes the water look really amazing! I'm actually on my second try of doing this technique. The first one started leaking (add link), yet it even gave some great effects on the roll of film! Outside of the beach, I'm using the Lomo LC-A more than anything. Mostly purchased them for £50 or less from eBay, and the results have never failed to make me happy!
Every time I tell people that I shoot with film cameras, the usual response is, "That must be expensive!" thinking of how much would it cost for a film and having it all processed. People are amazed that I get most of my cameras from between £10-50. A lot less than most digital cameras these days.
I love giving these film cameras a new life. Things change and developed into something new. The same way that we now have digital cameras. Yet I still love the character and essence of images taken with cameras that many people would discard or hide in their attic collecting dust.
I can't say that doing photography was really a decision. It's something innate in me growing up. I guess it only got better in time as I experimented with it more and more.
Being able to document my view of the world around me through photography enhanced the way I see and experience life. The reason why I felt that photography found me and it wasn't the other way around.
What I could say to those people who wanted to pursue photography but feels like they can't is for them to just try it. Say buy a really cheap camera and start from there! Some 6 years ago I was on a similar path, thinking that I needed to invest in expensive equipment to make it happen. What actually ignited my creativity was using basic cameras, cross processing slide films, and basically going outside to take pictures! You know, I'd rather be doing that rather than to sit in front of a computer for hours editing my images with photoshop!
Remember to get some of your best images printed out. Photographs are best when printed and up on a wall!
I have an exhibition with the excellent "captainbonobo" at the Brighton Photography Gallery on the seafront in Brighton. The exhibition is called "Serendipity" and it's filled with lovely analogue prints. It's at Brighton Photography, 52-53 King's Road Arches, Lower Promenade, Brighton, BN1 2LN. For more info click here.