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Last Update: Monday June 21, 2021

Key Idea: Follow Your Heart

To realize his dream of taking super-wide pictures, Ken Duncan gave up a big money-making opportunity with New York City talent agencies.     More...

Key Question:


Spend most of your time doing what you love.

Q:  What did Ken Duncan give up to do what he really wanted to do?

A:  Money. He gave up a job that paid big commissions which made him wealthy as a young man. This took courage, however, we know that this is much easier to do when you're young. With no wife or children, Ken figured he was only risking his own time when he when into the bush of Australia. You think about it: How did Mr. Duncan hit on an idea that has been such a commercial success? He went inside himself and realized that his true love is taking pictures. Big pictures.

Also, his work experience taught him that he didn't want to sell photography equipment; he wanted to use the equipment. Ken Duncan's panographs are making him and all of his employees a good living because they are unique. His pictures are in fact, breath-taking. His work is a result of his willingness to know himself and take action on what he knows.

Q:  When did Ken start making money from his photography?

A: Since his parents couldn't afford to buy his supplies, Ken had to sell his pictures in high school if he was going to fund his hobby. This was excellent training and Ken learned what people would pay for. He told us he would take pictures of the handsome men and sell them to the pretty girls.

The cash flow from sales kept him going and this experience helped him get the high paying job of selling photography equipment.

Q: How does learning about Ken's experience make you feel?

A:  If you are doing what you truly love then his life is validating to you. If you are not, his life may make you frustrated or sad that you haven't found your love or that you know what it is and you're not doing it. If you already own a business and have employees, take this idea another step.

Think about it

What can you do to make sure your employees are realizing their dreams in life? What talents and abilities do your employees have that they could exploit for their own personal and financial growth? How can you facilitate their success? Are you working on your own dreams?  Are you having as much fun as Ken Duncan does when he works?

Clip from: Ken Duncan Photography

Siesta Beach, Florida, a picture from America Wide: In God We Trust

Sydney, Australia:   Meet a man whose goal in life is to capture perfect moments and translate them into some of the most beautiful photography you'll ever see.

He carved out a niche by automating his art. Meet Ken Duncan; he truly sees the magnificence of all of creation around us and he would like us all to stop  and take it in.  Art is life, and art has staying power.  Perhaps if we do, we might also make our business as a work of art as well.

If you want to create a great business, focus on perfecting the products and services. In the struggle to make the processes just a little better, you will be creating something of even greater value. You can do it. Yes, you can.  And, as you do, you'll make our world a better place.   Ken should inspire you on your way.

Ken Duncan Galleries

Ken Duncan, Founder

Shop 14, Hunter Valley Gardens Village
Broke Rd

61 2 4367 7744

Visit our web site:

Office: 61 2 4367 7744

Business Classification:
Photography, retail

Year Founded: 1988

Follow Your Heart

HATTIE: It is beautiful. (Voiceover) Through the years, Ken Duncan has shown so much to so many. He takes us to places we may not be able to go ourselves.
Starting with the landscape of his own country, we learn from these pictures that the continent of Australia is spectacular.

KEN (Voiceover): It's the land that links us. You know, we've got to wake up. We've got to realize we're on a journey together. And we can have the adventure of a lifetime if we start to realize we're all on the same boat.

(Voiceover) Waterways remind me of God's love for us.  Pure, freely given, unconditional, utterly life-giving.  Our lives are truly small compared with the vast world around us. We are linked with this land. If we take the time to enjoy it, it will nourish our souls. Waterways remind me of God's love for us: pure, freely given, unconditional, utterly life-giving. To get this shot, we camped for two days on the top of Mt. Amos waiting for a break in the light. When it finally came, we were rewarded with this awesome view of Tasmania's Freycinet Peninsula and surrounding sea. Patience is all about relaxing and enjoying the moment, entering into the rhythm of what's happening around you.

HATTIE: So, Ken, when was the first time you realized that you could take a picture?

KEN: Well, when I was young, my dad used to take so long taking photographs that if someone didn't do something, we would have spent our whole life behind the camera all going, `Come on, Dad,' you know, like--so my lovely dad, but ... photography just was not his calling. So I sort of commandeered the family camera to get the thing over and done with quicker.

So that's how I started. About 16, I really found out more about photography and I fell in love with photography. And after that, to the detriment of my schoolwork, I just loved taking photos. I was shy when I was a kid. I loved it with a camera, because with a camera, you could go right up to a girl and look right into her eyes or into any person or situation.

You always had a reason to be there. No one ever questioned what you're doing there. So you get to see life far grander than just seeing it from one little perspective.

HATTIE: When was the first time someone actually bought a picture?

KEN: Well, I had to start at a very early age because my mom and dad -- they were lovely people but they weren't well-off, and they said, `Son, if you're wanting to do this photography, you're going to have to make it pay because we can't afford all of this stuff.' I wasn't brought up in a family with rejection. I had a mother who always said, `You can do anything you want to,' and, you know, I was stupid enough to believe it. So that was one of the things that really helped me. You see, a lot of people don't succeed because they take things too personally. A lot of photographers, they're too scared to go and show people their work because they're scared that people might say, `I don't like it.'

When I left school, my teacher said to me, `You are the least likely person to succeed.' After I left school, I thought, `Well, I'll show you attitude,' and so I went off trying to pursue the great Australian Dream, which is probably very close to the great American Dream, of having a house, you know, possessions, fast cars, money and all this sort of stuff, and a wife and 2.5 children. Now I had all the rest, but I wasn't very happy and I wasn't prepared to go for the wife and 2.5 children because, you know, the rest wasn't working, so I...

HATTIE: OK, so you had the car, the house, the successful business.

KEN: Well, I was selling photography. I was selling equipment, you know, high-end photographic equipment. So I turned my love into a means of making money. And the trouble with that is, you know, if you turn your passion into just a stream of making money, you can lose your passion. And I began to lose my passion. I was talking photography rather than taking photography. I took this camera that we had imported from overseas, a panoramic camera, and I took it over to Bali on a surfing holiday.

HATTIE: ... so you were a surfer?

KEN: Yeah, I love to surf, you know. And we were over there for some big waves.

And one day when I was out in the water, I saw this big mountain called Mt. Agung, and I thought, `Man, I've got to climb that thing, you know.' And the mountain was, like, 10,500 feet high, so it was quite a mountain. It was quite an adventure. We got up there for sunrise and we shot--it was just clear all the way down this island, and I took this photograph with this camera.

And I said, `Well, God, if you're real, you know, it'd be really good to get a bit of help because this money thing's not really doing it for me.'

When I came back, I had a photo. From that, it rekindled my love of photography. I thought, `This is what I've looking for. What have I been doing, you know? I've got to get back to taking photos.'

So when I came back, I decided, `That's it. I'm selling everything, and I'm going bush.'

I've got to find a meaning to life. There's got to be more than this, and I'm going to take my camera, this new camera, and photograph Australia.' So that's how the journey started. But the journey wasn't just about making money.

It was about I had to find a meaning to life.

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