Back in January I wrote about five words to define a year. While I had originally meant these words to guide my personal work I thought I would look at the blog through this lens as well.
Starting this blog was a giant leap of faith. Would anyone follow us? Could we create a community of like minded toy photographers? Obviously the answer to all of these questions and more is ‘Yes!’ Many of our loyal readers followed Brett and I from Stuck in Plastic and we made many new friends along the way!
Our community is vibrant, eclectic and growing. In fact we’ve accomplished so much in our first year that our friends at LEGO have taken notice. We will be receiving even more support from The LEGO Group in 2018.
By evaluating Toy Photographers based on the activity report and the past records, we believe your community is more regional to global oriented, constantly generating new initiatives via a solid amount of activities, contents, or traffic to push and even lead the community to grow and evolve. – AFOL Engagement Team
This additional support will allow us to run more contests, raffles and give aways. In 2018 look for at least five on-line events, four on-line activities and six major reviews. We will also be eligible to participate in The LEGO Group marketing activities. This last one is probably the coolest one! With this additional support we hope to inspire your creativity to even greater heights. Thank you The LEGO Group for your continued support!
I’m a curious person and that is why some of my favorite parts of this blog are in the “Why?” series or the “Six Image Narrative”. I learn from other photographers experiences. I see see myself reflected in their journey and I get to see our hobby from a different point of view. Frankly there have been several six image narratives that have left me a little jealous; they are simple amazing! I’m in awe of what this community creates and I’m honored you’re willing to share your work with us.
Look for more of these types of posts in 2018. I will be actively looking through our community tag on both IG and G+ to find photographers to feature. If you would like to be featured, simply add our #toy_photographers tag to your posts.
My life would be a colorless place without the friends I’ve made through toy photography and blogging. I want to take a moment and thank a few of those people specifically.
This blog wouldn’t exist without the technical help of Kristina. She was instrumental in pushing me to make the leap and making sure I landed on my feet. In addition to this invaluable help she has graciously shared her 52 week journey about reflections with us. Creating a new image every week and writing about that process every other week is a challenge and she met it like a pro! I will miss her posts here on the blog but I’m happy to know she will continue with her own toy photography journey.
Another amazing creative toy photographer that has been a backbone of this blog is Jennifer Nicole Wells (now known as Tourmaline). It’s been inspiring to read Jennifer’s weekly posts about her creative journey. She has pushed her art in new directions and shown us that toy photography can be incredibly nuanced. My favorite G+ Photo Challenge was to photograph a toy that you found at a $1 store or equivalent. The community rose to the challenge and created some of the more interesting work we’ve seen all year. We wish her well as she moves onto the next phase of her personal creative journey.
I’ve said much about my deepening friendship with Brett before. We’ve had a lot of fun strategizing about the blog and the community this year. Our frequent hangouts are filled with laughter and good cheer. I even look forward to having my ass handed to me during our up coming air hockey tournament at the 2018 Toy Photographers meet-up. Even though we’re separated by 19 time zones, he’s still one of my best friends.
I like to think we live in a world of abundance; the more you give, the more you receive. It is through this metaphorical lens that I approach this community. We will continue to give back to the community through our increased support from the LEGO Group, contests and whatever else we can dream up. Besides the physical goodies, we want to give back in other ways too.
We want to give photographers of all styles of toys a wider platform to have their work seen. Our goal is to publish articles that will inspire the creativity of all types of toy photographers. The blog is a place that can showcase toy photography in an environment that invites more careful consideration. Something that is lacking in the fast paced world of social media.
In the spirit of giving, and with the able help of Jennifer and Julie, we’re compiling a book that will feature the work of nearly everyone who has participated on the blog in 2017. This is a huge logistic effort and is taking more time than we anticipated. With a little luck we will launch the book in early 2018 and we will invite you to purchase the book to not only celebrate our first year, but to celebrate the wonderful world of toy photography! Be on the look out for the announcement of this limited edition book.
Working on the blog this has year has been a real pleasure. I’m surrounded by passionate people both on the blog and in our G+ Community. Blog posts are scheduled well in advance, everyone chips in as their time and talents allow and our G+ Community moderators have an endless supply of interesting contests ready to inspire. This has given me time to pursue my own photographic dreams. I have not been this happy creatively in a long time.
I know 2018 will be another great year. While we are loosing Jennifer and Kristina, we are gaining the talents of Lizzi, James (more of!) and Sunny. Brett and I are working behind the scenes to bring you a steady stream of talented toy photographers to inspire you. And with the support of The LEGO Group, we can’t wait to devise some delicious challenges to inspire you.
Thank you for your support. We would only be a dream without your readership, your comments and your participation. I’m excited for all that 2018 will bring. With the energy of our G+ Community team, our wonderful group of regular writers and the support of The LEGO Group, 2018 is bound to be a success.
There is always room on the team. If you’re interested in participating on the blog or in our G+ community, please let either Brett or I know and we can help you find your place.
If you’ve made it this far, come continue the discussion over at our G+ community! And while you’re at it, subscribe to our weekly email round up so that you never miss a post!
What a wonderful year-end reflection and 2018 inspiration. Congrats on the LEGO recognition!!! Looking forward to putting my own work in hyper speed right along with you, the blog, and this amazing community. Happy Holidays!!
Thank you Doug! Its been a real pleasure getting to know you this year! I look forward to your own ventures in hyper speed. I hope you are taking notes, because I will be asking you for a post about the transition! 😀 Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Thank you for having added a lot of value to my life (!) through this new hobby you shared with us in Denmark…
It makes every boring trip interesting… 😉
Yeah! Yes, every trip becomes more interesting with toys along! It was lovely to meet you Hans at skaerbaek. I hope our paths will cross again and then we can take our toys outside and really get into it! Have a wonderful holiday season!
Fantastic post Shelly! Thank you for everything you and everyone else have done for this community. It’s my favorite blog to visit and always has interesting and thought provoking content. I’m looking forward to more great posts and photos in 2018!
Thank you Lynn (and I’m sorry for the late reply)! It’s wonderful to have you as a part of our community. We couldn’t ask more than your response to our work. I look forward to digging deep this year and pushing my work and the blog into new and interesting territory. I also hope you will consider contributing more posts yourself in 2018. I love it when your work graces our ‘pages’. xo
Great post Shelly, reading it makes me want to contribute more to the blog!
Thanks Marco. This post came from a place of deep felt gratitude for this blog and the community that surrounds it. We would love to have you contribute more. Drop me an email and we can figure out what works best for you. I hope you have a wonderfully creative 2018! 😀