The time of the year when I look back in time, to year 2023, reflecting my Year 2023 (Photography | Travel | Creative | Heritage). The Year 2023 is a mixed bag of results and outcomes, some worthy points to note, as well as challenging, volatile and difficult economic conditions for running a business. Although 2023 is like the first full year of recovery from the global pandemic (2020 to 2022), it’s anything but a bed of roses for many of us in my personal opinion.
Running a small business is really very tough and challenging, let alone running a small size photography business in an ever-changing media/social media landscape that is already going towards video consumption over photography, coupled by smaller budgets, a shrinking pie to share in the market, filled with a pretty saturated pool on the supply side of things.
Fellow competitors in the same industry (whether photography or other industries) would not easily give up their share of their pie for you, it’s a cruel and harsh capitalist world out there. My photography business is still impacted and affected, there were many a times when it was so stressful and pressuring to run a small business.
The future of the creative industry, whether you are a photographer, videographer, artist etc etc, modern technology in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to make you stand up and pay close attention to them. AI can help us creatives, it can also possibly replace part of our creative work. Do check out and read my interview article, “Q&A on the impacts of AI on photography and creative industries”.
Having contacts and networks with agencies doesn’t give you guarantees in business, sometimes there were opportunities, sometimes there weren’t. Disappointments are part and parcel of my business operations.
Building up more contacts and networks have always been on my business plan and agenda. As I am reviewing my Year 2023, moving from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024, I am also strategising new directions and plans, that I would share a bit more without going into too much details in my Yearly Theme 2024.
On my personal/leisure photography sector, I had been active in the creative, arts, history, heritage, culture, conservation and preservation sectors, enjoying the visual storytelling and writing time that gives a deep fulfilment and accomplishment. Down the road, I hope that they would also help to bring in another source of business revenue as well.
My personal visual storytelling/photography projects were still mainly digital and social media, written, published and uploaded for the world to see, read and view. I didn’t plan any of my personal projects to bring it to life as a physical tangible showcase, in the form of a zine, book, prints or exhibition.
For this segment, it’s disappointing for me, I haven’t begun to explore travel again as I didn’t travel out of Singapore. The high cost of travelling and pent-up frustrations around the world have not subsided yet. Therefore, I am practicing patience even though my travel wanderlust went up a few notches higher.
Travel Content Creation
There were some travel content creation opportunities that didn’t materialise, coupled with zero international travel trips in Year 2023, it can come across as double disappointments. Nevertheless, I am biding my time, preparing and actively networking with travellers around the world during regular co-hosting of #TTOT Travel Talk on Twitter community chats.
Creative (Arts and Writing)
In the creative fields of arts and writing, Year 2023 was a very interesting year of creative exploration and writing that brought me into a new dimension, style and artistic direction. Thanks to local creative artist Wei of House of VSE/Very Small Exhibition/Bring Love Everywhere with his local artists and international artists collaborations that opened up my creative world to view and approach arts and creativity in different ways to immerse, interact and connect with the audience. Check out my visual story, “Tension by House of VSE”.
Another local creative artist that I followed and supported in Year 2023 (and still doing so) was Yip Yew Chong. His “I Paint my Singapore” – Familiar scenes of home was very heartwarming, nostalgic, connecting and bringing me back in time. Yew Chong’s visual storytelling via his paintings serves as an inspiration to me, in my own heritage, history and culture visual storytelling and documentation.
Experiencing a major cross cultural performance between Korea traditional music and Nanyin music – “The Origins Cipher: A traditional Nanyin and Korean cross-cultural musical journey” in October 2023 also opened up my eyes to the international world of traditional arts and music coming together with the elements of history, heritage, culture, conservation and preservation, combining together to show that it can be done, in such a beautiful and soothing manner.
Heritage (History, Heritage, Culture, Conservation and Preservation)
I have always been covering the areas of history, heritage, culture, conservation and preservation through the various museums networks, festivals and events. Through my heritage networks, I managed to discover more about traditional culture, craft and performing arts that may not have get the bigger slice of publicity and support. Personally, I feel that I can contribute more, help out and work together with organisations or like-minded people, whereby I can bring my skill sets and experiences in visual storytelling, photography, social media and digital marketing to those organisations in the history, heritage, culture, conservation and preservation sectors.
In the field of media relations with brands and agencies, the status quo is usually pretty good for those agencies and brands that I work closely with, some brands and agencies have been engaging for a period of time. As for the agencies that I recently engaged and worked with in the past 1-2 years, they would take a bit more time to build up the working relationship.
On a personal note and observations from a personal basis and perspective, there were a few recurring frustrating things that had been bugging me over the years. They seemed to have escalated in recent times. Here are a brief summary of them without going too deep into details and explanations:
- People don’t read
- People don’t want to understand you, they want you to understand them instead
- Passing judgement is getting more common, uncalled for at times
- People assume things
- Sometimes you are more on social on social media than me and you say I am very busy on social media
- Human communications are getting worse
- Communications and friendships are strained by social media, egos and narcissism
- Human memory is like becoming more like goldfish and they blame it on brain fog arising from the global pandemic period
- FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is getting stronger and worse
Yearly Theme 2023 – Explore
My Yearly Theme 2023 (Photography and Travel) was “Explore”, looking back at year 2023 in review and reflection, I did manage to explore bigger and wider, especially into the arts sector, following and supporting local artists in other creative genres, inspired and motivated by what they had embarked on, what they achieved, giving me new creative project ideas, motivations and directions for Year 2024.
I had also explored new partnerships with videographers, photographers as well even if we might be competing together in the same field. Finding partnerships would be even more crucial given the shrinking dollars and pie in the economy shared among an already saturated field.
As for my international travel segment, I haven’t begun to explore travel again as I didn’t travel out of Singapore. It’s definitely disappointing for me no doubt. The lessons and desires would serve me well to plan my travels in Year 2024, and not just pent-up travel wanderlust frustrations since 2019 before the global pandemic period of 2020 to 2022.
Reflecting Year 2023 (Technology | Business | Personal)
My year 2023 in reflection and review for my technology, business and personal are written and published separately on my TGH Technology and Business website. Since the two websites are operating in distinct fields, there are quite a fair bit of review and reflections written inside them too.
Final Note and Round Up
Year 2023 was not my best year, but I learned a lot. My review and reflection of Year 2023 articles that I wrote on both my websites, TGH Photography and Travel and TGH Technology and Business, may not have everything written down that took place in Year 2023, yet what I wrote down were quite a handful and lengthy to read for my readers.
To all who make the time and effort to read till the end of both articles, thank you for your support from the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate it!
Looking Ahead in 2024 (Photography | Travel | Creative | Heritage)
Looking ahead in 2024 (Photography | Travel | Creative | Heritage), I would be sharing more information and details in my Yearly Theme 2024 (Photography | Travel | Creative | Heritage), this approach is unique and can be very different as compared to the goals and objectives approach that I learnt previously.
Wishing all a Happy New Year 2024! Thank you for your support and encouragement!