Photographer and Creator of @Areyoumyuber on Instagram
According to driver-partner Andrew, an artist’s dream is to be paid to do something you love.
The Art Center College of Design graduate stumbled upon this dream — building his photography project, @areyoumyuber — while driving with Uber.
Andrew gives his camera to interested riders to take self-portraits and share their stories. Whether it’s about where they are coming from, where they are off to, or a recent challenge they have overcome, the stories have garnered Andrew thousands of followers on Instagram in less than three months.
“I love this project and it is spun from something that at the same time helps pay my rent,” Andrew said. “With Uber, it can work simultaneously.”
We chatted with Andrew about how he came up with the idea, what makes for a good Instagram post, and why you may see his work on a coffee table near you.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in LA and went to high school in the Palisades.
I decided to pursue baseball in college in Massachusetts but I ended up getting injured. I transferred to Santa Barbara City College and then to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
I loved advertising and had the intention of being a copywriter. But I could just feel my heart wasn’t in it anymore. So the last several years have been a transition for me, finding my ground and what career I want to pursue.
How did you learn about Uber?
Uber was something my friend suggested while I figured out what I wanted to do with my career.
I don’t go out and drink so Uber has been a great way to be out in the world and connect with people.
Right now it is full-time but I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life. I am not stuck behind a computer and I’m out there talking to people. I also have time to do creative things and one of my main creative things is growing because of driving.
How would you describe @areyoumyuber to someone who has never seen it before?
I believe there is a story in every ride. I share images of my riders and include a story with a certain emotional meaning.
There are so many great exchanges with riders. People let their guard down and are authentic in the car. A lot of spiritual truth gets shared.
"I consider all of these rider interactions a meditation. It gets me out of my head and gets me out of my shell."
— Andrew, Photographer and creator of @Areyoumyuber
Where did the idea for the Instagram account come from?
At first I wanted to make a collage of all my trips so I could have this memory of being with Uber.
I had my camera for more than a year and I had it just sitting in my apartment and I needed to do something with it.
I drove this one rider to her modeling shoot in Santa Monica. I just happened to have my camera with me for the day. I asked her if she would be open to sharing a quote and a photo and she was game.
Why did you decide to share these photos?
It is really easy to get focused on a job and say Uber is just work and say I am going to do this as only a means of income. But if you open your mind, and bring the power of art into it, it is more than just a way to make money.
Uber has helped me learn how to connect with people and grow. I am growing so much from learning about other people and their lives so I decided to share it with other people. What I am learning can benefit others.
Do you have any favorite stories?
I love learning about people who are doing the things I envision myself doing. I also love sharing stories about people who have come over a hard obstacle and don’t mind sharing that. I think these stories of perseverance can really help people during hard times because it really helps me.
You also never know who you are going to get in the car with. One of my favorites is a guy who worked on every single season of The Simpsons. He had been at an Edwardian themed party, hence the outfit.
What keeps you inspired to keep sharing?
I consider all of these rider interactions a meditation. It gets me out of my head and gets me out of my shell.
It is nice to combine the skills I have learned and do something I really love. I want to continue to keep producing consistent content that has a good message behind it.
And in LA, we are in our bubbles. People are missing that interaction and Uber provides that. I am happy to help in any little ways I can to amplify that.
The stories are also resonating with people and the feedback I have gotten back keeps pushing me. I have gotten messages from people about how they look forward to my posts. I loved how this one follower from across the country put it, “your account is a virtual, infinite storybook with intricate characters with fascinating journeys”.
What are your goals for this project? Any next steps?
People are saying this would be a great coffee table book. I have 300 images now and there is a lot of room for this to grow. It’s so new. I’m just excited to see how this will grow.
You have a lot of people like me in the world — around 30 years old, in a transitional phase in life. I am turning this transition into a huge positive with Uber for the time being.
As for future, I am also looking at grad school to become a therapist. My long term goal is to split my time between having a private practice, connecting with people, and doing some sort of art.
It’s funny because I’m already kind of doing that.
Hear more Driver Stories