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It's true. Self-portraiture can be a great way to learn photography, from the basics of exposure, white balance and depth of field, to intermediate stuff like posing, to advanced studies like how the camera lies and selling yourself to strangers.
grab the best camera you already have, learn how to composition and start shooting shit, after a month or two if you're still interested buy a cheap dslr and learn how to control iso, shutter, lenses stuff, keep using it until you hit its limits, then start buying proper lenses and a good camera. If you're interested in film it will be a little more complicated than that, just come back and open a new thread asking how to film.
Depending on what you're interested you'll probably need to learn how to use curves and from there other advanced stuff, there are a shitload of tutorials on youtube about post processing.
I got D3200 Nikon as christmas present, i feel like i can recommend it for a new dude.
I also read two books; Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure and Tony Northrump's Stunning Photography. Earlier you definetly have to check out.