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Meet Robert Kley of Robert John Kley Photography in N. Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Kley.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Robert. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Honestly, I don’t think how I first started is any more or less interesting than how most artists begin. I do think though that for most of us we are constantly evolving and with each new evolution comes a new beginning. I’ve started over many times not only in my career but personally as well. I think it’s important to change things up and start over from time to time. It’s good to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective and to listen to and understand different opinions. Where I am today is an accumulation of the changes, experiences, and people I’ve met that directly or indirectly had an influence. Although starting over again can be frightening, it’s sometimes necessary. It’s the only way you can move forward. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone, especially an artist, who has had a smooth road. Life will never go as planned and it isn’t going to be fair. Once you’ve accepted that fact, everything will be much easier. Although we would like to believe otherwise we really have very little control over the things that happen. The one thing we can control is how we react to them when they come our way. When something happens I always ask myself if it’s going to matter tomorrow, next week, month or even year? A majority of the time I’ve already usually forgotten about it by the next day. I read somewhere once that tragedy is only comedy plus time. I’ve spent countless moments chatting with friends about the mistakes we’ve made and the sometimes unbelievable situations we’ve gotten ourselves into chasing our passions. Yes, we do like to talk about our occasional wins and success, but it’s always the times we seemed to have struggled the most that make the greatest stories. Looking back, I would consider them some of the best times of my life.

Robert John Kley Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Although I specialize in editorial and portrait, as well as the newly discovered patience of still life, I still get so much from other types of photography. From the time I became interested, photographs and the artists that created them have always inspired me. There are landscape photographers that take you places where you can almost smell the air and feel the breeze on your face, and photojournalists who capture moments of beauty and heartbreak in the world around us. Then there are certain portrait photographers, who in one image, can make you feel someone’s happiness or pain. It really is a wonderful medium and we live in an amazing time where we all have access to research work that can inspire and move us.

They say that if you choose a job you love you will never have to work a day in your life. I’m not sure who said that, but nothing could be further from the truth. Having your own business is a full-time commitment. You’re the one who determines your worth and who will be responsible for all of your success and inevitable failures. It can all feel very overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day nothing will be more rewarding. Persistence will set you apart from others. A lot of people will get into a creative field with one thing in mind and soon realize how much time and sacrifice it really takes and will stop. A friend told me once that all of the best ideas, inventions, art, music, etc. are buried in the graveyard with people who didn’t believe in themselves and gave up. That always stuck with me. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t lose sight of your dream. Take risks. What you’re working towards could be right around the corner.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To be happy in the present moment and be able to do what you love is how I would define success. It wasn’t always like that. I used to think I would only be happy when I achieved a certain goal. When I reached it I was happy…for a minute…but then found myself thinking ok what’s next? That whole process repeated itself over and I wondered if it would ever end. Everything was always about work. I would miss seeing friends and family because I always had something to do or project that was more important. I would constantly find myself chasing the things I thought would make me happy not realizing that I already had them all along. The funny thing is now, that for the life of me, I can’t remember anything I was working on during that time. But I do remember every missed opportunity to be with the people I cared about. Finding that balance is definitely a key to success. Truthfully, you may never end up where you had planned, but if you are doing what you believe in your heart feels right, have a life full of love, and are grateful for what you already have, you will always be successful. There is a lyric by the singer/songwriter John Moreland about success that I like to relate to: “Maybe I don’t have it in me, maybe it doesn’t have me in it, and if I don’t fly, that’s fine…just let me find a place where I fit.”

I think ultimately, in the end, that’s what most of us really just want.

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