Photographers. Writers. Illustrators. - The Forecast 14 - Magazine | Monocle

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The world is changing at a fast clip and we’re here to report on what is on the horizon. From the pull of wind power in cargo shipping to our annual survey of compact cities for those seeking a slower pace without compromising on fun or business opportunities, there is plenty to discover and surprise in the pages of The Forecast. And there’s no one better qualified to share predictions and hopes for the year ahead than the talented folk who helped us put it together. Please meet our contributors.

Freelance fashion journalist Scarlett Conlon reported on the enduring power of workwear and how it’s setting the style agenda for 2024, in ‘Uniform Approach'. “Being a freelance journalist teaches me something new every day about other people and myself, and I like the reflection that comes with both,” she says of her work. “The only thing that I love more than writing is reading other writers’ work. Words hold untold pleasure and power. We can all learn from someone else’s perspective.” For the year ahead, she hopes to remain flexible and open to new opportunities. “I’m not big on long- or short-term plans. Things change all the time so I would like to think that I will always be ready to listen, be easy and move with it.”

Shooting our report on Vietnam’s rising fortunes allowed Vietnam-based photographer and graphic designer (and monocle alumnus) Loi Xuan Ly to further immerse himself in life in Ho Chi Minh City, which he has now called home for four years. The assignment also offered up plenty of coincidences. “I shot a series of stories and one happened to be at Rice Studios, where I previously worked,” he says. “It’s a place that I initially discovered through monocle so it felt like coming full circle.” Dancing, travelling and shooting more exciting stories are all in the pipeline for Loi, while he hopes to see more compassion, understanding and connection around the world.

Journalist Ahmed Al Omran reported on how Saudi Arabia is working hard to attract foreign investment for our Essays. Al Omran was born and raised in a date-palm oasis called Hofuf, nestled between the Gulf and the desert in eastern Saudi Arabia. Now he lives in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. He started out as a blogger to offer a local, in-depth perspective on Saudi Arabia. He then moved to New York to study journalism at Columbia Journalism School, before returning to work in the kingdom. His hopes for 2024? “To write a book about the social changes that have taken place in Saudi Arabia over the past decade. For the world? I want it to remove national borders, abandon visas and let people travel freely.”

Kristin Bethge came to photography while studying in Lisbon. She now splits her time between Rio de Janeiro and Berlin. We asked her to train her lens on Petrópolis, a Brazilian city north of Rio de Janeiro, for our Small Cities Index. “Petrópolis had a lot of German immigration and I was a little surprised to come across districts such as Bingen, Ingelheim and Mosela, all named after cities on the Rhine,” she says. She was also pleased to learn a new word. “I discovered that the inhabitants of Petrópolis have given the city’s particular kind of fog a special name, ‘ruço’.” For the year ahead, she would like to log off and have more meaningful face-to-face interactions. “The city is the perfect place for that. I would like to see cities encourage more encounters, everything from performances in public spaces to joint gardening projects. Free green spaces are also vital for everyone’s wellbeing.”

Milan-based illustrator Massimiliano Aurelio applied his considerable talents to bringing our Essays to life. When not drawing or sketching, Aurelio is kept busy bringing up his two small children – and swimming in the sea whenever time and weather permit. “I am from Taranto, a city in Puglia with one of the most beautiful coastlines in Italy,” he tells us. Despite his appreciation for his hometown, he has set his sights on travelling further afield in the months ahead. 

We hope that our in-depth reports, enlightening essays and informative interviews will give you a good idea of what’s to come in the year ahead, from current affairs to travel, fashion, culture and design. Enjoy the issue. 

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