There’s so much to do and see at a Star Wars Celebration that it’s easy to miss a lot of what’s happening, from the exhibition hall floor to the panel rooms and even right out in front of the convention center where everyone gathers to meet friends and take pictures of thousands of cosplayers. I’ve been to all 7 US-based Star Wars Celebrations and have taken thousands of pictures at each of them since 1999, mostly just for fun and to share with those not fortunate enough to experience these massive events in person as I’ve been lucky enough to do. Let’s just say I’ve been doing this so long that my first batch of images was shot on FILM! (kids, have your parents explain what film is)
You’d think that after all this time, I’d be a little jaded to the happenings at shows like this or events like San Diego Comic-Con. But Star Wars Celebration is not just another comic-con or geek convention. Sure, it’s got a singular focus that I’m sure you can figure out, but it’s about much more than that. To me, Star Wars Celebration is the gathering place where the people that organize it and attend it make up a massively extended family. For almost anyone who takes part in Star Wars Celebration, the words Han Solo spoke at the end of the new teaser trailer that debuted at the event rang true: “We’re home”. Not only is the spirit of the original trilogy back with the return of the veteran cast, but when we gather to celebrate Star Wars, the devoted share a common bond through our passion for the characters, the story, and inspiration it gives us to be creative and contribute to the ever-expanding universe of a pop culture phenomenon that is much more than a collection of movies, toys, and art. Star Wars taps into our innate love of myth and the stories we share to connect us to others with the same sense of adventure and a creative desire to explore beyond the world we live in, even if the other worlds don’t really exist.
If that kind of connection and passion doesn’t make sense to you, I’m sorry. Maybe you’ll make your way to a Star Wars Celebration in the US or elsewhere in the world (next year’s Celebration is in London!) and you can discover first hand what it’s all about. All you need is a love for Star Wars and a desire to share that passion with others (and a ticket).
Until then, here is a glimpse of what I was able to capture digitally at this year’s Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2015.