If you asked me to choose between photographer or Lego enthusiast to describe myself, I would undoubtedly choose Lego enthusiast. Whilst my Instagram feed is packed with photos of Lego, my photographic skills amount to quickly snapping minifigs or MOCs to share with my followers and using filters to work their magic. I guess this might be why I might have been a surprise attendee at the #baltictoysafari.
That said, I have been following the Stuckinplastic team for over three years, and these Instagram friends have become an integral part of my life. So, when the opportunity came to take part in the event, I jumped at the chance, despite knowing that I would be out of my depth photographywise, because I really wanted to meet these amazing people who I talk with everyday and create these inspiring toy photography images.
And I was not disappointed, because a week on from that event, I have made some great friends and have new amazing memories that will stay with me for years to come; here are my 10 best bits;
- Eating lunch at Stockholm airport with @suppaduppa666, where I immediately felt at ease despite not being an accomplished photographer; thank you David
- The warm Swedish welcome from Wiveka, Boris and their family who worked tirelessly, ferrying (literally) us around and keeping us all fed and watered
- Shooting on a dock in the golden hour on a Swedish evening; beautiful light, peaceful surroundings and passionate people working together, when they so often had only worked alone, not outsiders anymore
- Stefan @herrk; I was so happy to finally meet you after talking for so long online, and you never stopped smiling all weekend (ok, maybe not on Sunday morning with a schnapps hangover)
- Spending time with passionate photographers @_me2_, @xxsjc, @kalexanderson and @east_mountain to see photography through their eyes, as opposed to my collection of binary moments
- Exploring overgrown artillery bunkers, beaches, woods and disused military bases in search of those perfect places to shoot
- @davirasm’s hilarious (and slightly disgusting) crash course in eating crayfish like true Swedes
- @fubiken, a new friend, who was clearly just really happy to have joined us
- @_legogirl_ and @birk for trying to teach an old guy the intricacies of the Marvel multiverse at 2am after too much schnapps and Finnish whiskey
- And lastly, the Swedish archipelago where the weight of our worlds fell off our shoulder for two magnificent days
I honestly did not know what to expect at the #baltictoysafari; getting on a plane to a country I had never visited before, to meet people who I had only previously spoken with online, to take photos with passionate and talented photographers with only a digital camera in tow. However, looking back it was truly a wonderful experience that I will remember for years to come.
If you were not able to come along this time, do not worry, another Toy Safari is planned for next year, and if you do attend, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed my time in Sweden. Sure, there will be some plastic there, but it will be the people that will make it magical.
PS @herrk, @suppaduppa666; 2am at the top of the citadel; those memories are just for us ;)
Lego enthusiast, incidental photographer, repatriated Liverpudlian and Data and Analytics Implementation Consultant. When I am not collecting data, I am photographing LEGO spacemen.