The Western Canada Photographic Historic Association hosts Vancouver, British Columbia’s, original camera show and swap meet each year. This long-running show has now reached its 39th year, and makes the claim of being the largest in Canada with I believe approximately 120 tables, and I have no doubt well over 1,000 people walked through the doors this year.
I can’t remember exactly when we (my wife and I) had our first table there, maybe some time late 1990s. Since then each year we join an always-interesting diversity of photographers in a large, photographic equipment packed hall in Burnaby, BC, who are eager to exchange information and ideas, and, of course, are looking for great deals on all kinds of camera equipment.
Each year we make the three and a half hour drive from Kamloops the day before and lodge overnight and eagerly join other vendors the next day at 7:30AM to setup. The early morning scene is so much fun as we interact with others busily arranging equipment on tables before the show even begins. When I arrived I was happy to see people I have known for years. Better put, I was happy to see people I have known for only one day a year for about 20 years.
For me it is always a rush to organize my table quickly so I am ready for the swap meet’s early bird shoppers who pay a premium to begin shopping at 9am. That group of shoppers isn’t so much into browsing as they are searching for specific pieces, and they will walk quickly by a vendor’s table unless they spy that item.
At the 10am regular admission I always am glad to get a chance to sit for a moment (only a moment) after the hour of non-stop showing, demonstrating, explaining, and, of course, bargaining with savvy photographers.
Spending a day surrounded by a huge selection of cameras and other photography equipment is exhilarating, and getting a chance to talk with other photographers about their different interests is invigorating. Even after all these years I always learn something.
As I have mentioned before when I have written about this exciting event, one will find photographers of every age, from experienced elders to young people accompanied by patient parents. This congregation includes all kinds of lifestyles, interests, and photographic specialties. There are those that are dedicated to film, historic cameras, and processes of the past, walking alongside others that carry the latest and brightest in modern technology.
Other than actually pointing a camera at some inspiring subject, a gathering like the Vancouver Swap is a superb way to meet and exchange information with other photographers, and look at and check out the many kinds of photographic equipment that would not be so easily available anywhere else.
I had a great time with the photographers I met this year and the depending on who joined me at my table, the conversations always changed. My day of selling was a success, as it was for most of the dealers I talked to at the end of the day. And I even had some time to purchase another lens for myself, which is always nice.
I always look forward to any comments. Thank you, John