3 Life Changing Lessons Learned from My First Art Show

May 23, 2016  •  2 Comments

Can I tell you a secret? I'm actually fairly new to photography

Yes, that's right, I'm not a master photographer . . . and I'm not afraid to admit that. 

I actually failed a photography class back in my art college days. I was terrible at it and my teacher's lack of faith in my abilities showed just how much I didn't it. I've always been interested in it and wanted to explore it but my failure always kept me from picking up a camera in that capacity. However, after moving on to video production and filmmaking (check out my portfolio!), I started to see how photo and video worked hand in hand. Video production and photography professionals share many of the same tools and techniques. As I gained more video production experience I began to notice how important framing, lighting, and angles were as they pertained to the quality of my storytelling. I finally started to understand that I could actually tell a story with photos as well. 

In the spring of 2014, I bought a Samsung NX2000 camera, for filmmaking; but, I started noticing its great photo capabilities as well. 

This lead me to experimenting with different camera settings, techniques, and learning more to take better photos. I invested in better software and starting learning how to use new tools to hone my craft. All of this self-teaching and learning gave me the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to take the photos I always wanted to take. 

Soon, I began accepting paid projects such as professional head-shots, event photography, product photography, and more. I incorporated this into my video production work to offer one-stop solutions for business owners and entrepreneurs. 

I even set-up a studio helping actors, producers, and entertainers to get the tools they need in order to be successful. Two years later, after accomplishing so much as a photographer, I set a new goal. I wanted to take everything I learned to make photographic art. I was ready to share the world around me through the perspective of my lens.

So, I decided to put together my first art show.

Rod Kirby Art Show Flyer

I called it the Rod Kirby Show because I wanted it to be a creative mix of who I am. It included nature photos, landscapes, fine art drawing, and even multimedia.

The show was a major success financially, spiritually, and professionally. I accomplished a lot and I walked away with new skills, clients, and exposure as an artist. As I reflect on the show there were many lessons learned that helped me along the way. 

Here are 3 of the biggest that changed my life for ever; 

  1. If You Don't Try You'll Never Grow - I learned about Cinemagraphs, an awesome new multimedia art form, while researching projects to include in my show. The idea of "living photos" captivated my imagination and I really wanted to try my hand at creating them. However, I was quickly running out of time and almost decided to produce a slideshow of unprinted photos instead. A few days before the show, I scheduled a photo-shoot to produce the footage needed to make my cinemagraphs. After a bit of trial and error, I did it and now I'm on the verge of new artistic breakthroughs! The pressure of my art show backed me into a creative corner and I came out swinging with a new skill that I can apply artistically and entrepreneurially. However, I never would have made it this far if I never tried it to start.
  2. You Are Blessed to be a Blessing - Towards the end of my show a man walked in and immediately approached our refreshment table. By the shabbiness of his clothes I could tell he was homeless. In the middle of my successful art show, with a gallery full of guests, God sent me a test. Would I kick him out because he couldn't afford any art or would I offer a helping hand? Without hesitating, I gave him a plate of food, bottled water, and some cash from my tip jar to help him on his way. I believe God sent him to keep me grounded and as a reminder of how much He blessed me on that day. No matter what measure of success our gifts, talents, and abilities give us we are blessed to be a blessing to others. 
  3. You Have Everything You Need to Succeed - I don't know if you're aware but photography can be super expensive to frame and hang for an art show. I don't even want to think about all the money I spent getting ready for my show. However, I can testify that God gave it all back and I'm so thankful for His grace. Miracle after miracle fell upon me as the show date grew near. My print vendor had a sale on large prints a couple of weeks before the show, target's poster frames went on sale a week before the show, and more. Whatever God put in you to do, know that He'll make a way for you to do it. Trust in that and move forward with the vision!

It's taken me 2 years to get where I am today, but the journey was worth it. I've accomplished more than I could have ever imagined. The art show was really a proving ground for this new season of my life. It proved that God does exactly what He says He'll do if you try Him. And, I proved to myself, that all things are possible if I set my foot on the path and walk by faith and not by sight

What were the biggest lessons you've learned in your life? Share your thoughts below!


Rod Kirby Photography
Thanks, Angela, I really appreciate the love. I actually use a standard zoom lens that similar to what comes with a camera you buy out of any store. I'd love to experiment with a few zoom lenses though . . . maybe that'll be my next project!
Wow! I am thoroughly impressed with your work but I am far from surprised! What an incredible journey to watch from afar. The zoom lense must be mind blowing!! Enjoy and go hard. #LESSON SHARE--details make the difference.
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