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VIDEO: Inside Kevin O'Leary's Photo Exhibit

"Self Portrait, 1975" by Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O'Leary is one of the greatest Renaissance men of the CBC. We know him for sharing his business expertise and rhetoric on The Lang & O'Leary Exchange and as the toughest and most ruthless of the investors on Dragons' Den, but every so often he reveals the born artist whose success with a big educational software idea led him down an unplanned path. 

"I worked in film in 1980, 1981 and '83, working for Hockey Night in Canada," Kevin told us.
"I did some work on the Olympics in the '70s. I was also a photographer at the time thinking that maybe I could make a living being a photographer. That's not where my journey took me. But I've always kept it up."

The result of "keeping it up" is Kevin O'Leary's "40 Years of Photography", an exhibit that runs until November 15th at the First Canadian Place Gallery in Toronto and features a selection of photos chosen from over 10,000 that he's taken over the years. 

"This is the first time I've ever shown any of them," Kevin said. 

The impetus? A new initiative supporting teenage entrepreneurs called the Future Dragon Fund. Kevin is awarding a total of $50,000 in cash to the most promising future Dragons of Canada currently in grades 11 or 12. Video submissions are being accepted from applicants until October 23rd. Full details are here

"I think that gifting kids that need an opportunity just something to start down their road as an entrepreneur is a wonderful thing," Kevin explained. 

All of the profits from the sale of the photographs in the exhibit will go towards the Future Dragon Fund. 

Watch our interview with Kevin at the exhibit:

As a chronicle of Kevin's travels, the exhibit is fascinating. Here are a few of our favourites, with Kevin's own descriptions...

"Kiev, 1986" by Kevin O'Leary
In the 1980's I visited the Soviet Union. It was several years before the Berlin Wall was torn down but trade with the west was opening up especially for PC software which I was selling. I took this image in the Ukrainian city of Kiev. There was always a sense of "big brother" is watching and people kept to themselves eyes down when they walked. A man is suspiciously watching me through the open archway door as I pulled out my Leica and started taking pictures.

"Life Guards, 2013" by Kevin O'Leary

I am constantly asked if I photoshopped out the head of the second life guard in this image. No. He simply bent down to take a bite out of his sandwich at the moment I happened to be walking down the beach in Nantucket. I like this photograph because it raises more questions than it answers the longer you look at it!

"Man at Nikki Beach, 2013" by Kevin O'Leary

Saint Barthelemy is a tiny island in the Caribbean where the world loves to party. In Gustavia, the capital, there is a legendary beach bar called Nikki Beach. I shot this with my old school 35mm Lecia M6 using black and white Ilford 400 film as the afternoon revelry was winding down. You have to admire a man that is comfortable in his skin!

View the full collection of prints available from the "Kevin O'Leary 40 Years of Photographs" exhibit.

And like any good Renaissance man, Kevin also writes books, created and chairs his own investment funds and mortgages, and makes fine wines

He also ventures into comedy every now and then, most recently poking fun at himself with fellow Dragon Jim Treliving on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight:

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