The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Seymour Duncan Art Director and Photographer, Andreina Diaz
Andreina Diaz, art director and photographer for guitar and bass pickup company Seymour Duncan, is one of the few fortunate people to combine both her passions for music and photography into one successful career.
On any given day, you may find her taking photos of the company’s extensive roster of artists, designing a new magazine ad or product catalogs, or developing brand strategies for Seymour Duncan products. In her own words, “there is never a dull moment on the job.”
Read our interview with Diaz below to learn about how she went from being a freelance photographer to the in-house art director and photographer for the most successful pickup company in the world.
For more on Seymour Duncan, visit www.seymourduncan.com and read our interviews with Seymour Duncan co-founder Cathy Duncan, and Seymour Duncan Custom Shop Manager and 2014 She Rocks winner Maricela “MJ” Juarez.
WiMN: How did you get started in the music industry?
AD: Music has always been a huge part of my life. Many times it has been a key source of inspiration through my creative process.
More specifically, my journey in the music industry started right after I finished photography school. I was doing some freelance work and Seymour Duncan became one of my clients. To be honest, back then I didn’t really know what a guitar pickup was; they all looked the same to me. But very quickly I learned that the most important factor influencing a guitar’s sound is the pickups. I asked many questions about the differences between pickups. Names like humbucker, single coil and Tele pickups began to emerge. I felt overwhelmed with excitement seeing how passionate everyone was about pickups, tone and music at Seymour Duncan. And in the process I learned about other cool things I’ve never thought about before, for example the difference between heavy metal and death metal; two genres of music I was not familiar with until I started working at Seymour Duncan.
WiMN: What got you into photography?
AD: My curiosity for discovering and capturing the world around me got me into photography. Photography is the magic of stopping time and I felt in love with it from the very first ”click.” I became so passionate to capture the light, the shadows, the people, places and things that surrounded me. Photography taught me how to turn looking into seeing. It forced me to pay attention and I began to see things differently.
WiMN: How were you able to successfully incorporate music and photography into one career?
AD: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Working at Seymour Duncan made it possible for my love for music and my passion for photography to come together. From capturing the beautiful lines of a guitar and its pickups in the studio, to photographing the intensity of a guitar player on stage, photography and music are just the perfect match for an exciting career.
WiMN: What are your primary responsibilities as the art director and photographer for Seymour Duncan?
AD: Seymour Duncan is the number one pickup company in the world. It produces a very large range of pickups for electric, acoustic, and bass guitars in several formats. Working as its art director and photographer means one thing: Busy! From photographing our artists in concert, taking pictures of our product line, designing a new magazine ad or product catalogs, designing packaging, developing brand strategies for our new products to working on our website, there is never a dull moment on the job.
WiMN: How long have you worked at Seymour Duncan and what did you do before?
AD: I started working at Seymour Duncan in 2008. But before that I worked in Advertising and Television.
WiMN: Where did you study and what did you major in?
AD: I studied photography at the reputable Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif. I majored in commercial photography with a minor in multimedia. Santa Barbara is also the home for the Seymour Duncan headquarters. It was either luck or fate, but I feel very fortunate that I became part of the Seymour Duncan family.
WiMN: Do you play any instruments?
AD: I studied music as a kid but never relay learned how to play an instrument. However, I must confess that learning how to play guitar is an item I would like to check off my bucket list.
WiMN: Describe the coolest day on the job
AD: On a typical day, I could be sitting at my desk working on the design for a new magazine ad, and my phone rings letting me know we have a guest at the office. That means that I must grab my camera, go down to our custom shop and photograph Steve Miller who stopped by to say hi. Just a typical day at the office, right? Other days I could be at a concert where I have to photograph either Peter Frampton for a future ad, or Slash at a benefit concert. Did I mention that there is never a dull moment working at Seymour Duncan?
WiMN: What are some things you wish you knew when you first started your career?
AD: “Strive for perfection and settle for excellence.” That everything that you do, big or small, and every person you meet prepares you for what is next for you to do in life. Challenging times make you grow and success is the recognition to all the efforts that make you who you are today.
WiMN: What’s your favorite quote?
AD: “There is a world of difference between searching for happiness and following your joy. Following your joy is about listening to your heart’s desires, noticing what truly inspires you and recognizing your soul’s purpose.” – Robert Holden