Interview with Andrea Reider
Andrea Reider is a freelance book designer and photographer. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English in 1985. It was the year of the Macintosh computer and “desktop publishing.” Her first job was managing a typesetting shop in Ann Arbor. She soon followed the rest of her family and moved to San Francisco. She began designing and typesetting books as a freelancer for major book publishers in California and around the country. A highlight was working for Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian Scholarly Press.
Her work as a freelance book designer and layout artist led her to experiment with making her own artwork. She began experimenting with altering and enhancing the colors in her own photographs about four years ago. The result is a series of color-enhanced photographs of landmark buildings and sites in Los Angeles, which now includes many images of wildlife and nature, particularly the many hummingbirds of West Hollywood, where she lives.
As a photographer and artist, she strives for Joyful Realism, hoping to highlight persons, places, and things in a new light.
We had an opportunity to interview her and discuss about the work she does with passion. Here it goes.
Book designing involves true creativity – colors, size, layout, font, images and above all imagination. Where do you get the inspiration for book designing work? Please tell us also about the designing process you follow.
I’ve been designing and typesetting books for almost 25 years. In the beginning my inspiration definitely came from emulating the work of other designers that I admired. Over time, I began to develop my own style and techniques.
I basically sit at my computer and just start playing around with ideas based on the subject matter and projected audience of the book. I work on a lot of textbooks with various charts, tables, and images, all of which needs to be designed in some integrated and easy to follow manner. I see my job as helping students or any readers absorb the information “better” and more easily than they would without a good design.
I’m a bit of a minimalist and I think that every element that I add to a page should serve a good purpose. I think of it is “designing” the pages for maximum readability, rather than “decorating” pages with elements that don’t really belong. Of course, I break my own rules all the time and love nothing more than making an attractive book that appeals to everyone.
Who can approach you for your book designing work? In other words, what budget you’ve set to accept the work?
Most of my work is for book publishers. I used to work a lot for major U.S. publishers, but they have outsourced almost all of the work overseas. The best market for me now is small to medium publishers who don’t outsource. I also do some government work. And I get to work with a lot of self-publishing authors.
“Portraits of Los Angeles” – seems something like an awesome title ! You do photography in Los Angeles. Tell us more about it like sites you’ve covered and experiences in between.
Los Angeles is a wonderful city to live in as a photographer (like me) who doesn’t like to travel!
I was determined to get to know my adopted city a lot better, so I took some time off from my freelance work as a book designer and typesetter and set out every morning to a different part of the city, camera in hand.
I began experimenting with altering and enhancing the colors in my own photographs. The result is a series of color-enhanced photographs of landmark buildings and sites in Los Angeles.
I’m just about to self-publish the first book of my color enhanced Los Angeles photographs. This volume is the first of what I hope will be many more photographs and books to come.
What are the top 3 things that someone should know in order to be successful in photography?
I have no idea how to be successful in photography! I don’t think anyone does. I’m not 100% qualified to answer this question as I earn my living as a book designer/typesetter. I have met some amazing professional photographers. Without exception, they are extremely hard working, self starting individuals.A lot of photographers teach and hold workshops to keep things going. Taking a photography class is a great way to meet some very interesting people.
Photographing Hummingbird is something you do as well. Why the particular bird and what feel it gives to you?
I started photographing the hummingbirds because I was worn out from running around Los Angeles taking photographs. I bought a hummingbird feeder and after a few days they started coming around. The hummingbirds are here in West Hollywood all year round. It’s really fun for me watching the hummingbirds fly around past my window, trying to decide if it’s worth the risk of landing on the feeder, despite the flash of my camera.