This fortnight, Nick Healy from DEC Communications speaks with Blurb Australia Community Manager and Professional Photographer, Garry Trinh about online book making and how social media is changing photography.

Name:  Garry Trinh


Twitter handle @garrytrinh

Works with: (Australia)

What does a day in the life of a Australia community manager entail?

I love my role at Blurb. I help Blurb engage with the photographic, design and creative book publishing communities in Australia and vice versa. I facilitate event sponsorships, manage Blurb’s Australian social media and community, speak at events and hold book making workshops. I get to do a bit of travelling around the country, so every week is a little different. I work with Sarah Stokely and we are the eyes and ears for Blurb in Australia.

Who uses Blurb?

Anybody with a story to tell. From experienced book designers to grandparents who have never made a book, Blurb has many different book making options to suit different levels of expertise.

Any tips for people thinking about using Blurb for the first time to make their own book?

The easiest way to start making a book with Blurb is to download a free copy of Booksmart from the Blurb website. My tip is to keep things simple, don’t overdesign your book and if your book is for an important event, try to get the book ordered early. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Allow time to make changes.

No matter how many times I’ve made a book, I still find grammatical errors and images I would like changed. The advantage of Blurb and print-on-demand technology is you can always go back and make changes in future.

What have you learned about people and photography while working at Blurb?

Photographers underestimate how much a photo book can help their careers. Many photographers are still not aware of how easy and affordable it is to publish their own photo book. People still leave things to the last minute.

Where do you get your information from?

I like to read the newspaper every morning (even though I own an iPad). Increasingly, the information I get from print is general interest in nature, whereas information I get from social media and blogs is much more specialised and targeted.

As an experienced photographer and online community manager, how do you think social media has changed the medium?

Social media has changed the way images are consumed in many ways, particularly around how people place value on them.

My partner is a writer and describes Instagram as visual Twitter. An image to her is just an image. Photographers place much more importance on images. Images become their livelihood and their reputation. With social media these images by photographers become problematic because there are multiple ways an image on social media can be contextualised and not all images are intended to be a visual form of Twitter. Some images are intended for galleries, should be printed large scale and should be read within a bigger body of work. Putting these types of images on social media just seems inappropriate and doesn’t do them justice.

There are exceptions of course, such as images by Baranovic and Oliver Lang, who have over 90,000 Instagram followers between them. They have published Instagram books and continue to transform mobile photography into its own legitimate art form.

What’s the most exciting change impacting the photographic scene in 2012?

I think the most exciting change impacting photography is the ability for photographers to publish their own bookstore quality photo books. There’s now a growing community of photo book collectors worldwide.

Do you use any mobile photography apps, if so, which do you use?

I use Instagram. I haven’t decided if it’s a good or bad thing. The way I work requires me to carry a camera that can capture high quality images at any time. Having a camera on my phone just means I have to constantly make decisions about what camera to use and what the images are for. Sometimes too many choices can be a bad thing.

Who has inspired you most as a photographer over the years?

I enjoy art as much as I enjoy photography. In the late 90s Trent Parke’s photographs made it acceptable for documentary photography to be viewed as art in Australia. His work opened many doors and his style has influenced a generation of photographers, myself included.

Have you created your own Blurb books?

Three books I currently have available in the Blurb bookstore.

Where can people see your work?

I have an exhibition currently on at Slot Gallery in Alexandria until 28 July.

About Ambassador // All about Social Media, PR and travelling, Nick is big on any form of written, verbal and visual communication. By day, Nick is a PR and Social Media Consultant at an independent PR and Communications based in Sydney, @DEC_PRConnect with Nick via @NickHealy