How to Make A Book: My Internship with Heliographis, LLC

by Mariela Saver

This summer I partook in an internship with Heliographis, LLC led by Terri L. Romanik (Suzi), a wonderful photographer,  that was executed both virtually and in person due to the Covid- 19 pandemic. The internship was based on an order from a client of Heliographis to edit and piece together a book with raw data (unedited texts and photographs). My personal objectives and goals for this internship were to get a better understanding for printing and editing work, but I ended up learning so much more than that. In addition to familiarizing and re-familiarizing myself with editing software like In-Design and Photoshop, I also learned about types of printers, different terminology used from older printing processes, and the reality of what goes behind the making of a book.

Starting out, my supervisor gave me work instantly, which immediately instilled a sense of deadline as would a real job/commission. The work was to format and edit a book using InDesign, a software that I was not previously familiar with.  My daily responsibilities entailed editing of raw unedited texts and handling unorganized data. If I found any inconsistencies in these materials, I would highlight them and double check with my supervisor.

After organizing many physical images, I had to scan them, organize them into accessible and clear files on the computer, and then touch them up on photoshop. I then edited the pages in InDesign for the book. It was particularly challenging to edit some of the photos that were older or worn, so I had to implement use of editing saturation, value, brightness, cloning, etc., as well as use my own artistic liberties to produce the best work I could. For example, some of the more sepia tone images looked out of place, so I created more balance between the black and white originals so there would be more cohesion on the page.

As a Visual Arts Major, all of these skills are very useful and highly valuable in terms of the digital artwork that I do and my future career. With knowledge and experience editing texts and photographs (which is necessary in almost any career path), it will be beneficial for many future jobs to come. I was surprised to begin learning the intricacies of typography and the history behind it. Working with Suzi was an incredible experience, and it was an absolute pleasure to work with such a brilliant person. The most exciting thing for me by far was looking at her photography work. She captures such stunning photographs, and she was showing me some of her more recent works which looked almost like paintings. While a lot of the work was tedious, it was really nice to work under the supervision of such a talented and positive person.