15 years, it’s neither a very long time or a very short time line. For a blog that has reached its 15th year, that’s a milestone, taking into consideration how the internet and social media has changed and evolved after blogging and blogs were born. On 10th April 2021, I am celebrating 15 years of my TGH Photography and Travel Portal/Blog that first came into scene on 10th April 2006, looking back at my first post, it’s nostalgic! I went through so much over the past 15 years and my humble photoblog grew old with me!
Where it all began
It all began in 2006 when I wanted to start a photography blog. During that era, having a blog was not only something that I wanted to do for myself, I wanted to produce and publish visual stories, just like a National Geographic Magazine photographer and journalist (I grew up reading National Geographic Magazine and kind of follow their visual storytelling style).
At that juncture in time, it was kind of cool to own a blog, social media had not really “exploded” into the scene at that time. I started on blogspot platform before migrating to my own domain name and hosting, setting up my own brand name/domain name, my own frontal space. Huge credits to Jack who helped me to setup my photography blog at that time, as well as Brian who helped me with IT technical support over all those years.
As the years progressed, it transformed and grown from a small and humble photography blog into my TGH Photography and Travel Portal/Blog of today, covering my visual stories, travel adventures, documentation works, photography topics, cameras, lenses and accessories review, sports, wildlife, hospitality and food adventures.
15 years adventure – Many ups and downs
My 15 years adventure writing and publishing visual stories wasn’t exactly a smooth and stable journey, it was full of ups and downs, from reaching the heights of recognition in 2015, to the lows from setbacks and departure of loved ones/close folks from 2016 to 2017.
When you are in the creative sector, there will definitely be scrutiny and criticism, my website was deemed messy and not suitable to be a photography portfolio website. I reflected on it, established a separate photography portfolio website, thus allowing this to continue its visual storytelling journeys as a portal/blog and supplementing my photography portfolio website.
There were others who questioned the value and relevance of my photography and travel portal/blog in today’s social media trends and usage. One even created their own blog after questioning my website, that is probably a compliment to what I have accomplished for my website over the past 15 years.
I learnt and grow old together with my website, visual storytelling, gaining more photography skills and knowledge, producing and publishing photography prints, photo books and zines.
Revamp and Rebrand
Revamp and rebrand, the time is now to introduce TGH Digital Studio, comprising of my TGH Photography business, my TGH Photography and Travel portal/blog, my TGH Technology and Business portal/blog and working closely with my partnerships and collaborations.
Photographer | Visual Storyteller | Content Creator | Technology Writer | Digital Artist
I started TGH Photography as a sole proprietorship business in 2017. It was a very difficult start for me as I learnt the hard truths and brutal realities of running and managing a business, let alone a business in the creative industry.
The amount of emotional and mental stress took a toll on me as I was also hurting from the loss of my loved one/closed ones during the period 2016 to 2017. Not many knew about it, I don’t talk much about it, the world we live in, sometimes just judge you by dollars and cents.
During this short period of time from 2017 till date, I also learnt that providing standalone photography services is not going to be sufficient in this fast moving social media and internet driven world that we are living in. I started to learn videography/filmmaking from scratch, having photography knowledge and skills does shorten my learning cycle. This is still an ongoing learning process, I have so much more to learn, improve and add on new skills and knowledge, adding to my expanded scope of professional services.
Just when I thought things would get a bit more stable, the world was hit by the global pandemic COVID-19 in 2020. In a nutshell, this global pandemic threw everything out of the window. This was almost like back to square one, back to ground zero. This was like a reset switch – Adapting, adopting, changing and re-strategising. During that circuit breaker period, the acceleration to adapt, adopt, change, strategic changes and directional changes was fast.
Although I started solo in my photography business, I am glad that I now have a small team! I have Isaac helping me in photography/videography/video editing/editor and JingYi for creative design/digital artworks/illustrator/layout artist/.
Partnerships and Collaborations
I have been partnering and collaborating with other friends/content creators/photographers over the years. Some have been ongoing for a while, some are new on board.
One of my first partnerships and collaborations (we started off in 2017) that I worked with in a few areas, from photography, videography and digital marketing.
Easy Travel Recipes is my travel and food partnership and collaboration. We are still discussing on how to expand and combine our strengths and resources in the travel and food segments moving forward.
3 Blind Mice
This is a foodie consultancy, photography, videography, food tasting/cooking media production and regular feasting partnership and collaboration, founded and established after our foodie trip to Vietnam in 2018 by Chef Keith Crackling Roast, Chef Jude and myself.
Meow Mixed Media Production
A mixed media photography and digital artwork collaboration co-founded by Isaac, JingYi and myself, borne from a passion of photography, cute cats and digital artworks combining together.
More details and information would be shared when I make an announcement and share more information and details on what we are doing.
I am entering into the digital arts space with CryptoIKI, exploring the world of NFT and see how I am able to bring my photography works and mixed media artworks into this space. Keep a lookout as I explore and share my digital artist journey here.
I have embarked on a number of different personal projects over the years, from documentary photography, publishing photography book and zines, photography prints. For this 15th year milestone year, I have embarked on a few personal projects.
Currently, there are three books/zines being planned on my timeline.
- Mixed media photography and digital artwork collaboration zine with Meow Mixed Media Production
Coming soon, I would keep it under wraps for now! Stay tuned and keep a lookout for our official announcement!
- A zine to celebrate my 15 years milestone (2006 to 2021)
I am still working on my zine, I have yet to decide whether i am going for a photo book magazine style approach showcasing a selection of photographs shot from 2006 to 2021, or short visual stories of key events with photographs from each year.
- Publishing a book from one of my heritage and cultural personal works/documentations
I have been documenting and photographing history, heritage and cultural fields/interests over the past 15 years. This would be an ideal time to bring one of my personal heritage projects that I documented to the next level, publish into a book and bring it to life in both physical print and electronic book format.
A few other artwork projects with Meow Mixed Media Production are in the planning/discussion stages. We are a very new creative start-up collaboration, when the time is right, I would make the announcement with the team members and share with everyone on my website.
15 years milestone, what’s next?
I will continue to produce more higher standards visual content stories with my photography and videography for my photography and travel portal/blog. When the global pandemic COVID-19 is under control, I hope to resume my international travel adventures coverage.
Life is an adventure, it will never be smooth sailing. Who knows where my visual storytelling with my photographs and videos can bring me to, beyond greater heights or faraway destinations?
Last but not least
I would like to thank my family, relatives, loved ones, old friends, supporters, followers and readers for following, reading and supporting my TGH Photography and Travel Portal/Blog over the past 15 years. I really appreciate the support and encouragement that you gave me over all these years.
To all the various brands and agencies that I worked with, thank you very much for believing and trusting in me to work together, helping me to grow and expand over the past 15 years.
Last but not least, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for reading this lengthy story of how I started my humble photography blog in 2006 over a 15 years (not out and still going strong) time frame in 2021, marking its milestone celebration of my TGH Photography and Travel Portal/Blog.