Dean O'Brien's Blog

‘From Dummy to Genius’ Foto8 Book Publishing Seminar at Host Gallery London

with 3 comments

Well all I can say is that I have had a full weekend. It all started on Friday when I was heading to London to attend the ‘Dummy to Genius’ seminar at Host Gallery. I was going to arrive early on Friday and try and get to the Sally Mann exhibition. However, two days earlier I contacted Chris Floyd and decided to take part in a project which he was running. Chris had decided to photograph as many people as possible who are following him on Twitter. I was already familiar with the work of Chris as he was recently featured on the news channel ‘Russia Today’ which covered his recent exhibition in Moscow. Great stuff from a proper down to earth guy.

Bizzare as it may seem, when I arrived at Chris Floyd’s studio I also managed to bump into my lecturer Jonathan Worth from Coventry University who was also in London to attend the course at Host Gallery. Wayne Ford and many others were also at Chris Floyd’s studio having their portraits taken. It was quite a surreal feeling and must have been even stranger for Chris. Many of these people were only cyber followers and now there is a voice and real face to the Twitter user id. Its a great original project and I was glad that I was given the opportunity to take part. Whilst Chris was taking the images his assistant was busy recording video footage on a Canon 5D Mark2. Yes indeed, photography is changing at a spectacular speed and I was witnessing different mediums being used to visually record the project. You can read more about Chris’s ‘Great Twitter Portrait Project’ here:

The seminar covered everything. From ideas for a book right down to publishing the finished product yourself. There was a great cross section of speakers from people such as Joachim Schmid, Andreas Koller, Gerry Badger, Chris Steele-Perkins and David Gray. The speakers all managed to give us a great insight into the world of photo books and the wealth of their knowledge. The person who really stole the show for me had to be David Gray. Book producer, publisher, photographer and graphic designer. David opted out of speaking at a recent talk in New York held by Foto8. All I can say is that they missed out. Although maybe not the most confident of speakers he managed to get through to everybody there and gave a great talk. The talk was very relaxed and humorous which I feel is whats needed at events such as this.

This was an excellent seminar organised by Foto8. Full refreshments were provided with plenty of breaks in between talks. This was a great opportunity to talk and mix with fellow publishers. Rumours are that there could be a follow up seminar around September time so I do hope that this comes to fruition. I genuinely learnt a great deal at this seminar

Overall, I came away inspired. Inspired to start a new project. Inspired to create a book. I met some great people and put faces to plenty of names. Thanks to Twitter, networking with professionals in the industry has never been so easy.


3 Responses

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  1. Hello Dean I wish I was there! Interesting Jonathon Worth attended, but then being a photographer is lifelong learning just like when a doctor gets a medical degree they don’t stop learning to progress you continue to learn and never stop learning.

    Did you talk much to publishers?

    Chris Alford

    January 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

  2. Not to publishers but more to people who were doing book projects and discussing the stages they were at. It was a great course though and well worth attending

    Dean O'Brien

    January 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm

  3. […] Last year I attended a seminar held by Foto8 at Host Gallery in London.   It was a great seminar and as usual I did a blog post to reflect on the day and what I had learnt. As I was leaving the seminar I spotted ‘Foto8′ etched into some concrete further up the road.  I decided to use this image to compliment my blog post about the days  events Here […]

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