It’s hard to believe that the Seattle Toy Photographers meet-up is almost here! It seems a life time ago (nearly six months actually) when we first set the date for this meet-up. Back then it seemed like an eternity away and now its almost here!

Our first big meet up in Las Vegas, seems like an entire universe away; so much has happened in the intervening months. We’ve had two wonderful exhibitions of our work; Boris hosted a spectacular meet up in Stockholm; Vesa published a book of his amazing photographs; we’re now regular contributors to Bricks Culture magazine and last but not least, we’re an official LEGO users group. Wow, what a year!

While all of these events are special in their own way, they can’t hold a candle to what’s really important to me: taking photographs of toys and creating personal connections through that activity. I look forward to all our meet-ups, be they a small affair of two people going out shooting for a morning or an extravaganza similar to last years European event.  It doesn’t matter what the size of the group, shooting toys with friends is more fun! I enjoy the camaraderie, I enjoy learning from my fellow photographers, I love seeing the variety of toys, I enjoy the feeling of belonging to a special group of people. Can you tell I’m really looking forward to next week?

Our Seattle event, which starts May, 20th, is shaping up to be our best event yet. I’m amazed that we have 20+ people coming for at least two of the four days, and several more locals dropping in as their schedule allows. This only shows how much our hobby has grown as more people become aware that toy photography is a “thing”.

With the help of Dinoczars and an assist from Bear__Trap, I’ve created a schedule of activities that hit many of my favorite spots to shoot toys in and around Seattle. We will be traveling to Magnuson Park, Snoqualmie Falls, Fort Ebey, Deception Pass, Mount Eerie, the Olympic Sculpture Park and of course the Seattle Center to visit the Space Needle. I choose these locations not only for their photo opportunities, but also because I wanted to show off my city.  Over half of the toy photographers are coming from out of the area;  attendees are coming from Canada, Panama and Sweden. We also have friends traveling from California, Oregon and Minnesota; this is going to be a large and diverse group!

We have toy photographers, we have toy collectors, we even have a few custom toy makers. Toy photographers who’ve been shooting for years will be shooting alongside photographers who are just getting started; all skill levels will be represented. If past meet-ups are any indication, we will be learning from each other as we shoot together, trade toys, travel in cars, attend a baseball game and share meals.

In Las Vegas Bricksailboat managed to capture a little of the behind the scenes action, but this time we’re really raising the bar. With the help of Leila Cheiko, and a few local friends, we’re going to attempt to capture the entire event on video. We have two cameras and a dedicated audio crew on hand for most of the event. We’ll be taping interviews of the attendees as well as behind the scenes footage of the entire event. I’ve learned that these events are made up of small magical moments and I want to try to preserve and document that.  Hopefully, down the road, we can share the fun with the entire community.

In preparation for this upcoming meet-up, I reached out to a few of the attendees and asked them to write about why they’re coming to Seattle and what they’re looking forward to. I’m excited to share their stories with you. These will be posted over the next few days and next week so please watch for them.

For all the lovely people who are traveling to Seattle next week I wish you a safe journey. For all our wonderful community who can’t be there with us, we will be sharing our images and all the behind the scenes action via Instagram.

~ Shelly

If you can’t make this meet-up maybe you can make our fall gathering. We’re currently exploring dates in late September for another European meet-up, this time in Hamburg Germany. 

Searching for buried treasure.

Searching for buried treasure.