Hi Stuarte. My experience has been different. While I had a darkroom as a teenager, I gave it up when I moved out of home. Still kept photographing with a little Rollei 35, but it was not the same as using an SLR.
Some fifteen years ago, following a series of dreams, I took painting lessons and found I could paint and do it well. While I enjoyed using oils and chalk, the problem arose when I realised I had potential. To cut a long story short, the process of practising and training while also having a full time job as a musician, which also gave me meaning and the opportunity for expression, proved much too stressful and so I gave it up. The coming of digital was an immediate revelation. In the time it took previously to set up an easel and prepare the media, I could have the structure of a photograph finished and be working on the small details of light and texture . If I had half an hour free between students, I could carry on working with it on my laptop. No more packing up because the light was going. No more dust everywhere and using toxic materials like cadmium. I could enjoy being out in the countryside in any weather and then be working on the image later in the comfort and warmth of my home.
I think underpinning much of our work is the need to be creative. Looking at a recent exhibition of painting and photography, the question often came up “why did they bother?” Well, much of the work may not have been very good, but the answer to the question lay in in the artist's heart's desire to be creative and their love of the process of doing it.
Expressing our vision, what we see in our hearts, exercising and nurturing our creativity and skills, these are things close to what it is to be a human being and so will give us much grief because we care about what we are doing. Yes, I have found photography ruinously expensive, but some of the images I have now please me. Deeply.
Best wishes, David