Interview: Reed+Rader's Digital Dreams

Combining a unique blend of multimedia savvy and creative zeal, Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader’s collaborative work is just the type of edgy techno-artistry that’s perennially on the horizon of hip. Call them photographers, graphic designers, artists or online installationers, but Reed + Rader‘s genre-transcending work—from interactive online features to short films to augmented reality programs—has put a whole new spin on the fashion industry’s creative boundaries. JC Report chatted with the duo, who, as with everything, responded collectively, about the source of their inspiration the role of digital media platforms in their work and why print is dead—or at least, just boring.

JC Report: Why take a moving, interactive approach to fashion image making?

Reed + Rader: We believe in an online and digital future, and are pushing for a transition away from traditional media. Once the limitations of print (being fixed and still) are overcome, a world of new possibilities is opened to the creative process&8212;namely animation and interactivity. These are things you don’t really see, especially in fashion, even when they make so much sense.

JCR: Where did the inspiration come from?

R+R: Looking at the technology trends and understanding that an overwhelming segment of the market that is interested in fashion has broadband internet and mobile devices. It just makes sense to take advantage of the strengths of this new digital platform. Traditional mediasprints, photography and video are passive&8212;you sit back and watch them without being able to have any influence. The goal is to begin to tear down these barriers.

JCR: Your work is so dynamic that it defies categorization. How would you describe your vocation?

R+R: We struggle with deciding our title when we have to write our credit. While we are formally trained as photographers and in interactive media, we are really a jack of all trades. Our title isn’t listed on our website so people are often confused, but really we have our hands in everything. We are the art director, photographer, videographer and graphic designer on our projects unless otherwise noted. We don’t do styling except for our most personal projects, but in all others we have a heavy hand in the production and deciding how all characters will look.

Our thoughts and ideas are always ahead of the work we are currently producing, and it takes a while for reality to catch up to our dreams. Right now we are working exclusively in GIF animations and traditional video. Still photography hasn’t inspired us in years and we almost always turn down projects that are still. The cutting edge for us right now is figuring out how to bring basic interactivity into our animations. We just finished our first attempt at this with a project called “Naptime,” which is interactive via mouse cursor movement and keyboard key presses. This project barely scratches the surface of the possibilities, but interactivity is our future.

JCR: In many ways, your work seems to be the future of editorials. Why do you think it’s important for publications to take note?

R+R: Print is done, or, at the very least, uninspiring to us. Our photo-animations only begin to take advantage of the possibilities of digital editorials. Publications should take note that the future rolls hard and at an increasing pace. Making still images for a medium capable of so much more just seems like a waste to us and we’re sure our internet-savvy brothers and sisters would agree.

JCR: What do you hope the audience takes away after experiencing your work?

R+R: We want them to smile, giggle and maybe be a little creeped out. It’s all about having fun for us and we hope that people who see our work can share in that.

Reed + Rader’s other projects include a new spring feature story for V Magazine, a freak show display, menswear presentations for Dazed and Confused and a visualization of augmented reality.

There is one comment on Interview: Reed+Rader's Digital Dreams:

  1. Great tap into our new design options and interactions and interconnections! Indeed what do you call yourself if you do so many things together? I recently became aware that I am no longer just a fashion designer and a master graphic designer but a photographer, stylist, marketing specialist, seo master, code writer, article writer, videographer… and so on! I think this is only the beginning though… many people are testing their skills as we read and write and we will see better and more complex works soon :)

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