Major innovations at these important seminars

 by John Henshall



The revolution in imaging, design and publishing on the desktop -- and the development of Macintosh computer which powered it -- owe more to Seybold Seminars than to any other event. For more than a decade, Seybold has been the conference and trade show at which most of our new digital procedures have been formulated and introduced, including many important professional digital imaging innovations seen for the first time.

The main Seybold Seminars are held twice yearly: New York or Boston in the spring, San Francisco in the fall. I have attended these events for many years to report to you on the important developments in digital imaging. Cost of travel to -- and accommodation in -- the United States is so inexpensive that attending Seybold can be much cheaper than a trip to European exhibitions, such as Photokina. And America is the powerhouse of digital imaging innovation: gregarious and brave, there is no fear of the wild digital frontier.

Two years ago I was delighted to be asked by the Seybold organisers to devise and moderate the digital photography content for their conferences. To date, I have organised digital photography sessions for three Seybold conferences in San Francisco, two in New York and one in Sydney -- with upcoming events in Hong Kong and Boston.

John Henshall with Gil AmelioAt Seybold San Francisco on 31 August this year my digital photography day had no fewer than nineteen speakers. These included some of the digital world's most prestigious proponents including Mark Hamburg, Principal Scientist and Architect for Adobe Photoshop at Adobe; digital landscape photographer Stephen Johnston, who showed 3-D digital images; Gil Amelio, inventor of the CCD and former CEO at Apple Computer; Bob Caspe, founder of Leaf, who made the first professional digital studio camera; Alexis Gerard, Editor of Future Image Reports and CEO of the Digital Imaging Group; Eran Steinberg, designer of FotoNation-Explorer, a system-level desktop interface for digital cameras; and Oscar winner Paul Vlahos who designed the Ultimatte blue screen system used extensively in television and special effects movies such as Titanic, and the new Ultimatte Knockout software (announced at the session and just released) which allows the seamless digital replacement of any still photographic background.

I'm not a journalist, though I do like the excitement of a scoop as much as any hack. I managed to arrange four big scoops at Seybold: during the day we had the first appearances of no less than three new high resolution professional digital cameras - the Dicomed LittleBigShot, Kodak DCS560 and Leaf Volare - all being seen for the first time anywhere. Some scoops! These products will be big news when they hit Europe at Photokina but the importance of Seybold is sufficient to upstage even the world's biggest photo show.

The next big Seybold Seminars event is at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachussetts, in Spring 1999. The conference runs from 1 to 5 March, the expo from 2 to 4 March. For details see or telephone +1 800 776 6676. You can save 20% on the registration fee by eMailing Harry Weintraub at or telephoning him on +1 650 372 6733 before 31 October 1998 and telling him I sent you.

I look forward to seeing you in Boston.

This article first appeared as "John Henshall's Chip Shop" in "The Photographer" magazine, October 1998.
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