It allows you to 'see'.
The sheer pace of modern life demands that everything is done yesterday. Having a camera in hand allows you to slow down and start taking notice of things that ordinarily would be missed. The reflections, the angles, the symmetry, the beauty, the ugliness, the happiness, the sadness and the downright strange all can be captured just by simply seeing and noticing. If it sounds crazy to say having a camera allows you to see, perhaps I should elaborate.
When you're seeing for a reason (to take photos) you're sensory awareness is heightened meaning that the brain is on red alert for opportunities to quench the creative thirst. Your eyes will pick out anything of interest and then it's up to the photographer to make it an image of note. The amazing thing about this practice is that after a while- even without a camera- you start composing shots in your head. Looking for shots becomes instinctual, it becomes an itch that no matter how hard you scratch, it doesn't satisfy. As mentioned above, photography is a thing you can practice without having a camera. When a compelling subject pricks your interest, you can ask yourself how you would compose the shot, what settings could be used and where is the light source coming from? So when you are out with the camera, these kind of questions and answers can be put in practice.Having an increased awareness, noticing/reacting to what's around you and having an excuse to explore the local community are all amazing benefits that photography provides.
For this reason (and many more that will be covered in future posts), I fully endorse photography as being essential!
Until next time comrades, see you on the flip side!