To be honest I really think it depends what type of photography you are interested in. Having an uncle that's professional is a fantastic resource -- that being said if your interests do not parallel one another the amount of help he can provide might only go so far (no disrespect intended). For example I'm an advertising photographer so if someone asked me about becoming a wedding photographer - the amount of help I could provide would be almost zero.
In many parts of the world photography is nurtured as an art or trade. I started my career working for an agency in London. I went to a 4 year university in the states and I was working with photogs in the UK that went to a 2 year school for photography. When I worked with them - they were much more accomplished that I and they were several years younger. As they studied photography as a trade and were not required to take the other 2 years of basics in school. This is not always the case as many fine art photographers do their 4 year university, masters and PHD - so all told their education takes 8 years minimum. I guess my point is that there is not one recipe that works for everyone.
I started as a photojournalist and loved it. I traveled most of time, covered many major sporting events, political conventions, followed presidents and other world leaders. These opportunities allowed me to really work on my craft, meet people and make many connections which lead to every other assignment I have ever had.
If you have any specific questions feel free to let me know. Also I have many friends in the business and can probably put you in touch with any number of photographers in most disciplines to answer any questions you may have. When I was in school and just starting almost everyone tried to persuade me to choose another profession. This really upset me and I made a promise to myself that when I was in the position to help newcomers I would do just that.
Good luck and feel free to check out my portfolio.
I'll start with encouraging you to get a college education regardless of your future career path. Regarding a career in photography, a degree in photography is not necessarily useful. The number one selling point to be a photographer is your ability to produce very good images. You will, or will not, be hired based on you ability as a photographer. I believe a solid liberal arts degree is adequate. Your photography education can be self-directed, through college classes or workshops. During college, you can explore the various areas of professional photography and decide what you want to pursue.