Grow and Go – Passing the Baton

“Grow and go” is a phrase I try to live by. It’s long past time for me to live by my own words and pass the baton to new leadership. It’s easy to get comfortable and stay in a situation only because its comfortable. I bring this up because my time as the co-leader of the Toy Photographers blog is coming to an end. It’s time for me to move on to other challenges. 

I’ve learned so much!

I’ve been blogging for seven years and through my weekly writings I’ve learned so much. Even my grasp of the fundamentals of photography are stronger. In fact, I was amazed at how much I’d missed during my pursuit of a university degree in photography. By writing 444 posts about creativity and my own process, I feel grounded in my own style. This is something that would not have happened without the discipline of writing and taking photos to fulfill my blog obligations. 

But change is inevitable, even if you’re doing what you love. Over the last seven years I’ve had the pleasure of watching the community change from a ragtag group of toy collectors and amateur photographers into a deep well of talented toy photographers. I remember back in the early days of BrickCentral on Instagram, I had trouble finding photographers worthy of our daily feature. Now Anna and her team feature a never-ending parade of amazing LEGO photographers. 

At the moment I don’t feel that I have what it takes to lead this community to the next level. It’s time to step aside and let the next wave of toy photographers take over and share their journey, their experiences and their knowledge with you. 

And we’ll all float on okay, And we’ll all float on anyway.

The future looks bright

I’ve seen this moment coming for well over a year. During this time, I’ve been gathering an amazing group of passionate toy photographers to help me on the blog. It is now their time to step out from my shadow and take over the leadership of Toy Photographers. The team that will be guiding and entertaining you in 2020 are:

  • Alan Rappaport – Editor and Chief
  • Teddi Deppner – Empress of Operations
  • James Garcia – Podcast Host
  • Joshua Kittleson – Podcast Editor
  • Adam Ford – Social Media Coordinator
  • Oliver Peterson – Grammar Maestro
  • Regular Columnists – Dave DeBaermaeker, Ann Miss Feklista and James Gibbs

I’m sure you’ve already noticed some changes over the past few months, with more rolling out in the coming months. I’ve seen a new energy flowing into the blog and I couldn’t be more excited. 2020 is looking bright! We have lots of exciting projects brewing, but I will leave the announcement of these to Alan and his crack team.

The adventure continues….

My new role

Toy Photographers is my baby and while I’m stepping away from the leadership role and day to day operations, I’m not leaving. My new role on the blog is defined as Social Outreach. Some of the projects I’m working on are:

  • Coordinating with our MeWe community on monthly challenges and future guest posts
  • Organizing our yearly North American meet-up
  • Developing a series of podcasts with Kristina Alexanderson that will take a deeper dive into the working process of photographers you’ve seen here on the blog
  • Creating workshops in conjunction with the Women’s Brick Initiative

In the new year I will be using my extra time to pursue those projects that have been on the back burner for the last few years. No more distractions! No more excuses! 

In conclusion

Thank you for all the support you have given me and this blog for the last three years. When we first started it was only Brett and I with regular contributions from Kristina. Soon I had twisted the arms of James, Tourmaline and a steady stream of guest authors. Now we’re a staff of eight with a podcast and a thriving MeWe Community. Our guest contributor list is over 100 strong! There is an awful lot of toy photography history and growth in these posts. 

I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together and I’m excited to see where this next group of toy photography leaders takes our little community. 

As I said in the beginning, its time for me to grow and go. As I step aside as the managing editor, I know that I leave the blog in very good hands. 

~ Shelly

“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.” – Garrison Keillor


  1. Another great toy photography institution you’ve created, Shelly! I’m sure Alan will do a great job taking the lead… and now two of us with a fantastic exemplar.

    Thank you for all you’ve done here and everywhere for toy photographers!

    • Thanks Anna! It seems the toy photography community is littered with the projects Ive left. Hoping this doesn’t become a trend! I hope I can still contribute, but I feel Alan and the new team have what it takes to really take this blog to the next level. Super excited to see what they can do together!

    • Lynn, thank you for your kind words. Honestly I don’t feel I have enough to offer the community at the moment. There are so many new folks in the hobby who need a different type of inspiration. Im so pleased we have a new team that is more than up to the task of meeting this challenge. I think you will like what they have planned! In the mean time, I will see you on IG and Flickr!

  2. Ah, Shelly! What a wonderful recap of an absolutely beautiful thing you’ve created here with this blog and our online groups. Although we’ll all miss seeing your frequent posts, I’m so glad that you’re sticking with the community and will still be blogging — just at a more reasonable pace for all the projects you’re juggling.

    You’re a powerhouse of a community leader, and an amazingly creative lady. It is a blessing to be part of this team, helping keep this thriving outpost of toy photographers alive with educational, entertaining, and inspiring content! See you around, here and on MeWe!

  3. I have not found anyone in my country for whom photographing toys would be more than just short entertainment just for fun and some day you have found me on Instagram through thousands of miles. You showed me the bridge from quick snaps to meaningful process, Shelly. And you were the first person for me who talks about Toy Photography seriously. I just want to say Thank You.

    • Yuri, your comment really touched me deeply. Thank you! I work in my little office reaching out to the community via the internet and I never really know how I’m doing. To know that I helped you to see your potential is thrilling. Your work is so full of emotion and poetry, never change!!

  4. Freethegeekman

    Shelly I really enjoy what you have created with TP and the varied insights, contributions and artistry posted here- much of which is crafted by yourself. Thanks so much for that. Good luck with your new endeavours and best of luck to Alan and the team too

    • Thank you! This has been a true group effort! With your work on BC I know you realize how much work one of these projects can be, no one can do it alone. The blog will soldier on with this new crew creating articles and tips to inspire all levels of photography. Im so proud of what Alan is already building…stay tuned!

  5. I will be sorry to see you step down as you have given me the opportunity to contribute to your amazing blog as a guest toy photographer and I really appreciate this chance, I hope to continue to do so in the future, as I’m sure we will see you pop up from time to time as a guest too 😉

    I wish you the very best on your new role and I hope to become part of your future too (MeWe). Thank you so much Shelley now go chase your dreams!

    Good luck Alan and your new team,

    Bev x

    • Beverley, your words and images will always be welcome here on the blog, whether Im here or not. Your work is outstanding and you bring a unique view point to our hobby. Thank you for all you’ve already contributed! I hope to see you over in MeWe someday! It truly is the little club house that could. 😀

  6. Very sorry to see you go from the Blog but hopeful for the future with Mewe, Women’s Brick Initiative, and beyond! Thank you for all you do for the toy photography community. I, for one, have learned more from you than I can put down in words. 🙂

    • Wow Julie your comment blows me away! Thank you so much! I wont be going try far – helping more with MeWe and the WBI. We have big plans for the WBI and it’s taking everything I have to keep up with the momentum. I hope we can connect at one of our events in 2020. See you on MeWe my friend!

  7. What a lovely post. Thanks for letting us know your plans (the North American meetup — YES!!) and who is who over here now. You’ve been such a vital force in creating this open, loving, fun, mentoring community, Shelly. I know that I’m among many (as evidenced by the comments alone!) who are part of this community because of your generosity and encouragement. I remember when you forced me to come to the Bay Area meetup — I mean, invited me — and now I can’t quit you or the growing community. I love your intentional journey and I’m here to support you and it. Thank you for everything, including what’s to come. I am sure the blog is in great hands and I’lll be here to support that team, too. Go Shelly Go. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and here’s to a magical 2020! xo

    • What? Me force anyone to do anything? I like to call it gentle persuasion! Besides, you had a fabulous time!

      But seriously, thank you for your kind words and more importantly your friendship. I appreciate being allowed into your life and being able to get to know your lovely family, even a little bit.

      Here’s to 2020 and a magical new year! We will figure out the North American meet-up soon. Now that Im recovering from the last four months a plan is starting to come together. Happy Holidays and all lets make 2020 the best, despite all the distractions! <3

  8. Shelly, I just want to say thank you for your enthusiasm and passion in furthering the art of toy photography. It’s people like you that so graciously share their talents and inspire folks to stretch beyond their current abilities and try new things. Thank you for your time and effort in this regard. You have led Toy Photographers into a land of great potential and I see it soaring going forward. Again thank you for your art! I look forward to 2020 and seeing more of it!

  9. Leila @brickandmordor

    Wow Shelly! Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on new challenges… I always appreciate your need to continue evolving and challenging yourself creatively. It’s super brave, and super inspiring. Even though I only have time to peek at the blog every now and then, I’m always so impressed with it and I love seeing how it connects the community and sparks creativity in everyone. THANK YOU for creating Toy Photographers for us all! Looks like a stellar team will be taking the reigns. I’m excited to see where your journey takes you next. Looking forward to the next toy safari!

    • Thanks Leila for your kind comments. I will confess its been quite the ride. I have no idea where I will end up next, but its time to challenge myself. Its a scary time, but time to move on. You can always find me on MeWe, where the community is small and supportive.

      I know your super busy on your own creative path and I wish you much success in 2020! See you soon my friend! xx

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