Inside knowledge can be some of the most invaluable. With this in mind we have conducted interviews with some of the most renowned publishers in the business today. These insights serve to contextualise the Blow Photobook Programme and provide an overview of the entailed process for applicants.

Dewi Lewis Publishing is one of the leading photographic publishers in the world. The company is run by Dewi Lewis and Caroline Warhurst and publishes around 20 new titles each year of leading British and international photographers such as William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, Frank Horvat, John Blakemore, Paolo Pelegrin, Laia Abril, Dougie Wallace and Bruce Gilden. Dewi Lewis aims to bring to the attention of a wider public, accessible but challenging contemporary photography by both established and lesser known practitioners.

Here is how it started

In 1985 I had set up Cornerhouse, a major Film and Visual Arts Centre in Manchester (since renamed Home). I was director there and we ran an extensive exhibition programme covering all the contemporary visual arts. As part of that we regularly published catalogues. For a variety of reasons I decided that we should start a publishing programme, I felt that this should focus on photography as it seemed to me to be most underrepresented artform in publishing at the time.


Then the first book

In 1987, I published my first book: ‘A Green And Pleasant Land’ by John Davies, but the first book I published through my own company was ‘Children of Bombay’ by Dario Mitidieri, in 1994.

In the last few months before I left Cornerhouse I had helped set up The European Publishers Award for Photography with four other European publishers. Cornerhouse decided against continuing their involvement and agreed that I could participate instead. Dario Mitidieri was the first winner and so his book was my first. Because there were five publishers involved and the print run quite large, the costs were less than they would have been had I been the sole publisher. 

I went independent in 1994. As I was setting up the company I also earned an income through arts consultancy work and it was through that, and a small overdraft, that I was able to put together enough money to publish the first book. If it had failed I wouldn’t have been able to continue and I would also have been paying off debts for some time.  


The biggest challenge

Producing a book is almost always a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable experience – trying to then sell it is very different, and very difficult. Ultimately the biggest challenge is to be willing to take risk after risk. Nothing is ever certain to be successful and so you have to have continual optimism BUT it must be balanced by a clear sense of realism.

How to select a project

Each year I see many hundreds, if not thousands, of projects. Some through open submission, some through portfolio reviews or from being on juries, others in exhibitions or published in magazines or online. I have no fixed idea of what I am looking for but when I see it I usually know pretty quickly. For me it is about a project that feels new and fresh, a project that holds together, has something to say, and deserves the enormous effort and expenditure that is needed to make a good book. 

Dummy or not dummy, that is the question

I don’t really like to work on a finished project that allows minimal input for me. The interesting elements of being a publisher are about the process of putting the book together. Consequently, I am usually involved in every aspect of development from reviewing the initial ideas, working on the edit, then the design and through to the final marketing of the book. 

Ideally, I want to be in a position to have a significant impact in helping to form the final work, but it depends on the project. My starting point is always to tell a photographer that they must submit their work in a completed, sequenced form. It doesn’t need to be a finished dummy, but it does need to be a set of images organized in the way that the photographer believes will best tell their “story”. If they do that, then it helps me to understand what they are trying to say. If they were to give me a hundred or so images to select from and edit then the “story” would be mine, not theirs. My role should be different, it should be to help them say what they want to, not what I want to. But I should be challenging their ideas. Ultimately, I’m aiming to help them understand how to most effectively use their visual material.    

I almost always tend to change the original dummy. Dummies are handmade objects and often they just don’t work once you move into the industrial process of print production. Sometimes this is because of the economic reality, sometimes because things can’t be physically done in the same way by machine. But, of course, there are other reasons such as the failure of a sequence, too much repetition, unnecessary or inappropriate text etc. etc. 

Instead of a dummy, I prefer simply to just see a set of images – laser print outs or whatever – put together in a sequence. If I don’t like the design of a dummy then it can sometimes be hard to see beyond that.


I design the majority of our books – at least 80% of them. But I am also happy to work with other designers. We tend to work with an external designer for a specific project or for a specific reason. We have worked with a few designers a number of times but often that’s because the original project has come to us via them.

Press check, with or without the photographer

I still go on press for almost every project (99% of them). I also try to encourage the photographer to attend. The printing process inevitably involves compromises and my view is that I prefer to make those decisions rather than leave it to the guys on press, however good they are. I think that my presence adds a few percentage points to the final quality of a book. As for the photographer I think that it’s important to go on press so that they understand the process and are fully engaged. I want them to be fully involved and to have a real sense of ownership of the final book.

Deadline: 15 February 2019
Interview: March 2019
Duration: 3 months

Application Guidelines:
– PDF format
– Project Statement
– Artist Biography
– Maximum of 30 images
– Website and/or social media links
– Scan of student ID where applicable

Terms and Conditions:

  1. This opportunity is open to any photographer or artist using the medium of photography who is looking to develop their work in the form of a book. Applicants should have a photographic project that is at an advanced state. It’s not necessary for the project to be completed, but it must be at a stage where the process of publishing can be set in motion with our team.
  2. Blow Photo covers accommodation at a D-Light Studios apartment for 3 visits to Dublin. Maximum stay is 5 days. Additional days must be paid for by the artist, a reduced rate will apply.
  3. Applicants must be available for an interview (Skype call optional) within the first week of March 2019.
  4. Projects must not have been published as a photo book before.
  5. The Program is open internationally.

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We are delighted to be in collaboration with several industry experts. Our mentors offered to be part of Fuse because of a strong sense of synergy, a shared vision, and faith in a collaboration that aims to bring meaningful assistance to the selected artist and truly help them to accomplish their dream. Blow Photo and all of our Partners are offering their resources to make Fuse a high-quality production.

A creative design studio, Unthink are respected for the craft they bring to modern design. Bringing an intelligence to design and branding, their output is unique and a high level of discipline and attention to detail is always evident. With clients both at home and abroad, Unthink are one of Ireland’s most talented design studios.

A multi-award-winning printing house, Plus Print are known for their expertise and passion for print. Embracing the latest technologies and with great respect for their practice, they create outstanding results for a range of clients from the corporate to the arts and culture world.

Read That Image is an award-winning photobook collective based in Dublin, Ireland. We are a collaborative group of photographers and designers committed to exploring the endless possibilities of photobook-making and self-publishing. Through a year-round programme of workshops in photobook design, bookmaking and bookbinding, as well as our bespoke services in book design and production management, we provide a space for image-makers and book-lovers to come together to share ideas and create work.

A creative multimedia art space in the heart of Dublin city, D-Light is an important member of the art community in Europe and a beacon of creativity and support for artists in Dublin and further afield.

Founded in 2010 Blow Photo was created to promote and support photography through publications, talks, workshops, exhibitions and education events. Over the years Blow Photo have been discovering and sharing fine art photography in Blow Photo magazine publication. Blow has published 17 issues, showcasing almost 300 photographers, exhibited Irish work at the European month of photography in Berlin, collaborated with southeast museum of photography in Florida and most recently with Hamburg Trienniale.

Founded in 1994, its photography list has an international reputation and has included books by leading British and international photographers such as William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, Frank Horvat, John Blakemore, Paolo Pelegrin and Bruce Gilden. The aim of the company is to bring to the attention of a wider public, accessible but challenging contemporary photography by both established and lesser known practitioners. The company has a worldwide distribution network and is recognised as one of the leading photographic publishers in the world. It publishes around 20 new titles each year.
 Dewi Lewis Publishing also works in close collaboration with a number of European publishers and was a founding member of The European Publishers Award for Photography, which ran from 1994 to 2016. In 2014 Dewi Lewis Publishing received the PHotoEspana’s prize for Outstanding Publishing House of the Year.


We have assembled a diverse panel of judges with a wealth of experience in both the fields of photography and curation. Many of these judges have appeared on similar panels, having their say on the state of contemporary photography globally. Therefore have deep insights into what is required to make a great photobook. This depth of knowledge is invaluable for anyone thinking of approaching a publishing house.

Agata is an architect turned photographer and entrepreneur. Originally from Poland Agata moved to Dublin in 2003. In 2008 opened D-Light Studios, the multimedia space in Dublin, which promotes art, culture and community projects and supports artists through residency programmes. In 2010 she has founded BLOW Photo, a platform promoting fine art photography through talks, exhibitions and publications. She is an editor for the Lucie Award nominated BLOW Photo Magazine.

Peggy is a curator, producer, author and strategist for emerging and established photographers. In addition to her position as Artistic Director of East Wing, Peggy is also a board member for the Belfast Photography Festival in Northern Ireland and consults for Picture Berlin, a summer residency programme developed for artists working in contemporary art and photography. Originally from America, Peggy moved to Ireland in 2000. Prior to taking the position with East Wing, Peggy was Artistic Director of Sirius Arts Centre in Ireland from 2001 – 2014. She has curated exhibitions in Berlin, China and Poland. She has also written for photographic journals in Europe and America.

Daniel is the Founder of the Asia-Pacific Photo Book Archive, and is the Higher Education Course Director at Photography Studies College (Melbourne). Daniel is a regular contributor to the British Journal of Photography, Voices of Photography, Vault, Photoeye, Paper Journal, Heavy, Source, and other Australian and international publications. Daniel was previously the Managing Editor of Australia’s oldest photography magazine ‘Photofile’.

Daniel is on the Curatorial Advisory Board for the Perth Centre for Photography. He has been a judge at numerous international and national photographic competitions. He is also a nominator for the Prix Pictet Prize, World Press Photo, the Mack First Book Award and other international competitions. He has curated numerous national and international photo book events. 

He has been a lecturer for the past 15 years, and has previously taught and guest lectured at the University of Chester (UK), University of Gloucestershire (UK), University of New South Wales (AU), University of Melbourne (AU), National Art School (AU), Deakin University (AU), & La Trobe University (AU).

Do you have a story to tell? Are you working on a project that you would love to publish one day? Then maybe the time has come to get your work on paper and in front of the photo publishing industry.

Fuse is a new Photo Book Programme aimed at mentoring an artist through the process of publishing a photo book.

By bringing together the collective knowledge of an editor, publisher, designer, and printer, Fuse gives you the opportunity to work with some of the industry’s best people while gaining a deep insight into the process of making your own photo book. The 3-month programme will result in your work being presented to international publishers as a professionally edited, designed and printed Dummy.

Through this collaboration, you will explore your options, from the selection of images and typography, to whether your book is hand-made or uses print-on-demand technology or traditional printing and binding technology, as well as choosing the size, paper type and binding of your book.

What’s Involved?
— Editing with blow photo editor
— Personal guidelines from the publisher Dewi Lewis
— One to one workshop with the director of Plus Print
— Designed artwork by Unthink designers
— Dummy printed by Plus Print
— Presentation of the work and dummy to major publishers
— Access to D-Light Studios facilities.

The program will run from April 2019 until July 2019. It will require a minimum of 3 visits to Dublin. Within those 3 visits, you will receive accommodation from D-Light Studios. The awardee must cover their own transport costs.