I’ve been telling myself all week that I really had to begin focusing on writing that 2013 wrap-up blog, if not for the VonWonglings that have been loyally following me over the last couple years but for myself…

Recaps are important, to take the time and figure out where you are in life, how things have changed and… if indeed, you’ve been going the right direction this whole time. 2012 was an exciting year of change, evolution, possibility… but what about 2013? Could it compare?

Objectively speaking, I can’t help but feel like 2013 was somewhat of a disappointment. It was a great year, no doubt, with adventures, travels and projects galore but somehow, it just feels like I didn’t reach my full potential.

Despite my 48 blog posts from this year bringing in over 420,000 views, 44 videos on youtube bringing in over 1.1 million hits and almost doubling my fan base on Facebook from 15k to 28k I can’t help but feel like I have stagnated in my growth as an artist.

Creating regular blog posts, viral videos, teaching international workshops and becoming a public speaker are elements that have taken the front row seat and while they have undeniably yielded some amazing results, I can’t help but feel that I have made no concrete tangible steps forward in my career.

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Yet looking back there is nothing that I would have done differently because I have always followed my heart to do what felt right, reached out to grab opportunities as they presented themselves and worked through every challenge, obstacle and heartache that came up.


  • collaborating with companies across the world: launching the new SmugMug, creating promo imagery for ioSafe by lighting their drive on fire, promote the revolutionary Light Blaster, push the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra system to its limits with Vistek, and combine the LensBaby with water guns to name a few.
  • Co-directing and producing a Game of Thrones fan fiction with an amazing crew of people
  • Creating my first Viral video ft. 13 Nikon Cameras and the amazing Andrew Kesler.
  • Getting my first billboard shooting a campaign for Antoine Laoun in Montreal, Canada.
  • Playing Creative Director in the world’s largest Where is Waldo shoot in Traustein, Germany
  • Teaching workshops across Vancouver, Kelowna, Michigan, London, Toronto, Edmonton and talking on Creative Live, WPPI, PPOC and Profusion.
  • Getting published on the cover of Nikon Pro and featured in PhotoLife among a few others that I can’t quite remember…
  • And last but not least having Adobe fly out to do a four day documentary on me (results in 2014)I don’t think I wasted 2013.Life is a journey, and mine in particular has been a roller coaster.I do plan on doing things a little bit different next year, and in a sense, that’s the purpose of this post. I have reached the inevitable conclusion that you cannot be everywhere all at once, and slowing down the frequency at which I make BTSV and blog posts will be critical to growing as an artist and as a creative.Similarly, workshops and speaking engagements will have to be sliced down as I’m finding myself travelling so much that I hardly have any time to put things properly together.

    Shooting Nicole and bringing her dream to life, has changed my perspective on things and I’m realizing that it’s possible to not only inspire and teach, but also to create images that matter, all at the same time.

    I am not sure where it will bring me, and I’m not sure what the future will bring… but one step at a time.

    Thank you all for being a part of this journey, through the ups and the downs, the smiles and the tears.

    None of this would have been possible without you.

    All the love.

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  • Eva

    Happy new year Ben. So the final question, cat or fire? Which one was more popular 😛

  • Carlos Gouveia

    Happy New Year Ben, can’t wait to see what you will teach the world in 2014, bring it on! 🙂

  • Nicole

    It makes me sad that you feel your growth as an artist stagnated in 2013. Your art consistently inspires me! Nonetheless, I can’t wait to see what you create in the upcoming year. Happy new year 🙂

    • I think it’s important to have ups and downs… we need these stagnant periods so that we can have the periods of growth! One step at a time, and happy new year to you too!

  • Savi You

    Quit being so modest…you destroyed 2013.

  • Sky

    The fact that you’re not satisfied with your accomplishments only shows that you are a driven soul that wants to do more, create more, share more, be more. It speaks to your being as a compassionate driven artist, and with that, you’ll always want to do more, to do better. Don’t let that be a curse,, let it be your guide and friend and accept these longings, not as a burden, but rather your mantra. Stop once in a while and look back at all you have seen and accomplished, how far you’ve come, , and simply enjoy tha journey.

    • Enjoying the journey is a constant struggle, but I do be certain to make time for it!

      I hope that more opportunities to go to LA come up… It’s looking like March could be the month!

  • Levis

    I’m not sure I understand all this false modesty or the purpose of this post. One one side you show off by listing all the things you accomplished, yet on the other side you say that you feel you didn’t progress as much as you wanted. What is it that you’re looking for exactly? More fans? More “Rah-rah, Ben, you’re the boss!” or a genuine feeling of advancing professionally? This post seems to imply you’re more preoccupied by the feedback you get from others than by the objective value of your realizations.

    You come across as a very talented, very energetic person who is desperately hungry for success and recognition. In 2014 you’ll have to decide which is more important: your notoriety or your art. If you put your energies towards gaining more influence, inspiring others etc, your true art will take second place. If you put your energies towards advancing artistically and professionally, you’ll have to let go of the craving for notoriety. You might get notoriety as a result, or you might not. Only you can decide which values are more important. One thing is for sure, those who are inspired by your art will continue to be. Those who are inspired by your antics and crazy schedule might not.

    • The purpose? To reflect, to share. What people make of it, or don’t is really up to them.

      People always question what drives me, where inspiration comes from , or how I feel about my own work and in a sense, this gives insight into what goes on inside my mind. This wasn’t about egos or about feedback, it was simply about an objective look back onto what this year was all about.

      Regardless, thank you for your feedback and I wish you all the best in the coming year.

  • Amilee Hagon

    When you come around to Calgary again… Look me up. Hair and Makeup is at your fingertips. <3

  • This blog inspired me to get out there and follow my dreams. Thank you Benjamin.