Inpress Festival of Publishing…

Inpress Conference 2014, by James Sebright.Inpress Festival of Publishing 2014, by James Sebright.

One of the best aspects of being a photographer is stepping into other people’s worlds, especially when it is as interesting – and civilised – as the world of publishing. For the last 3 years I have been lucky enough to have been the official photographer at the Festival of Publishing, organised by Newcastle’s Inpress Publishing Ltd. This year’s event took place at the Free Word Centre in London and featured some excellent speakers on the issues facing publishing today, including eBooks and selling books online.

For me, event photography is no different than street photography, the only difference being that I am less likely to be confronted or punched at a conference. Well, hopefully that’s true. I move through the space trying to be invisible, looking for the characters, the gestures, the juxtapositions, the things that make a conference unique, the unique combination of the space and the participants. It requires an observant eye and a sense of anticipation. Technically it is often challenging, as indoor venues are often dim and flash is often much too obtrusive. It’s at conferences that I am aware of what an amazing instrument is the human eye.

“Oh, she’s lost weight!” or “Oh, that beard he’s grown doesn’t suit him at all…” It’s always fun seeing the familiar faces and seeing how they have changed in the last 12 months. Also heartening is seeing how the numbers are growing each year, with new faces appearing. It’s good to see that the publishing world hasn’t been entirely squished by Amazon, and that people still care enough to produce beautiful books of poetry and prose.

I am already looking forward to next year’s festival!