Thursday July 1, 2010

Feature Story


Monopoly Man

The guy behind the lens of the city's soon-to-be most famous photograph

Story by Craig Hill



very picture has at least a thousand words to say, but the photo of the city that Hasbro chose for their board game will only say one thing visit Chilliwack.


A snapshot, taken by local amateur photographer Ryan Dyck, captured the green heart of the Fraser Valley and he inadvertently captured a paraglider, which also showcases the air park set against the background of Mt. Cheam's wild white peaks.


The photo, in other words, is perfect and it's what the city would want the world to see.

In January, Hasbro ran a hugely popular contest where people could login on the website and vote for their favourite city. Cities with the most votes would be awarded a square on the Canadian version of the 75th Anniversary edition of Monopoly. Low and behold, residents voted like mad. It paid off and Chilliwack is on the Monopoly map.

Choosing each city's artwork was an involved process and had some interesting aspects.

Marisa Pedatella, Manager of Marketing Services for Hasbro Canada told the Voice in an e-mail that every city on the board has a "rich history with dozens of recognizable icons."

Pedatella explained that "In selecting the monuments, buildings or other icons to represent each city, we considered the size of the space on the game board and the locations that are recognized by the greatest number of people across the country," adding that "in some cases, the city worked with us directly to find the perfect match for the game board."

In Chilliwack's case, there was no competition held for the artwork on the square nor was there any favouritism involved. It was pure luck. The photograph that Hasbro choose is only a segment of a larger shot (seen here).

The job of finding just the right photo for Chilliwack's square was outsourced to a designer and while scanning sites for images indicative of life in the city, he came across Ryan Dyck's picture of Mt Cheam which the photographer took last year and later posted on the net.

"He (designer) located Ryan's photo on Flickr," said Pedatella. "Then we purchased the rights to use Ryan's photo on our game board this way."

Dyck is just an average dude. He describes himself as being "down-to-earth." He works at Stream International as a technical support representative and his hobby is photography.

In December, game developer, Russell Challenger called him and told him that Hasbro wanted to use one of his shots.

Dyck is good on the phone. It's his job. But this seemed just too bizarre. At first he was skeptical and couldn't tell if he was being scammed or not, so he did some quick research.

"I looked Challenger up because I didn't really believe all this kind of thing because you don't know what people are trying to get off of you for your pictures and stuff, and so I checked him out and he had a pretty decent website," said Dyck.         Box shows area location of photo.

When voting finished in February and the decision was made to use Dyck's photo, Hasbro contacted him with the forms to sell the use of his photo.

Technically, Dyck was the first to know that Chilliwack was on the board and admits that the excitement was a lot to deal with and that he had a hard time containing himself. How many could keep that kind of a secret under their hat?

"I only told a couple of people who I knew wouldn't say anything," he said.

Did Dyck get rich quick? Not. He was paid $100 dollars. Additionally, he's probably going to be the only person in Chilliwack that will need to own two games.

"I'll be getting one three or four weeks down the road from Hasbro and I'm buying another one to play with," he said.

For a guy who's spent most of his life in a small town like Chilliwack, this is a big leap. Any photographer would consider something like this to be a huge feather in their cap and Dyck chuckles when asked about being in the "bigs" now.

"I hope I'm in the big leagues now, there's so many photographers out there now and I'm not sure what avenue to take to market myself, but I'll be exploring opportunities."

At first Dyck didn't see the paraglider in the photo and it wasn't until he saw the repro on the game board that he noticed it. So by chance, the paraglider was fitting considering that Chilliwack has a dedicated air park for the sport.

He plans to continue on taking photos and eventually publishing them into a book and calendars.

To for more information on how to get a hold of Dyck and see more samples of his work visit he website:  or try him through his Facebook page.


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