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Retirees Become Encore Entrepreneurs

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Golden Years for many people means travel and relaxation, but according to a retirement survey the majority of workers in their 50s and 60s plan to keep on working.

A new category of retirees is growing, called encore entrepreneurs. Eugene photographer Ken Haley is one of them.

“I just started shooting as most photographers when they start this. Everything is fair game,” Haley said.

Haley’s backyard is an oasis with trees and flowers. He always considered himself a writer. That was his art. He didn’t start dabbling with photography until six years ago. First with a point and shoot camera, and then he upgraded.

“This is art. This is color. I don’t have to do anything. It’s there, right there for me,” Haley said.

And it clicked.

“When I started delving into photographing, I realized I still am telling a story and that is my whole attitude toward photography–tell a story,” Haley said.

It’s telling a story with pictures, first with birds and other animals.

“Eventually I saw there was a challenge with the birds in flight, and I began to hone my skills,” Haley said.

Three months ago, 66-year-old Haley officially retired to pursue his photo art.

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, 15 percent of workers between the ages of 50 to 64 are self-employed, and that figure increases to 25 percent who are 65 and older.

Entrepreneurship provides the opportunity to turn a lifetime interest or hobby into a potential profitable career. Haley now believes he found his niche using feathers, flowers and natural light.

“I’m trying to really wed the two. Sometimes it’s a matter of tucking the flower into the petal,” Haley said.

This is an interaction a real story is being told here.

Haley’s work is available online, both cards and prints. His next step: show in a gallery.

“As far as I know, no one else in the world does this. This is what I’ve developed to be a part of my retirement plan,” Haley said. “It’s a new style of photography and art, and this is what I hope will be interesting for people to look at in a gallery.”

Haley’s ultimate goal is to inspire a response. And if people want to buy his art, that would be an added bonus.

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