Above + Below With Rebecca Underdown
With the last chill finally leaving the air, we welcome the summer season with wide open arms, and are kicking it off with an amazing lineup of cultural and sensory gifts to engage and enlighten.
Fittingly, our first Low Tide feature of 2019 is an old friend with something new to share…as is often the case amongst the MBH community, which never ceases to impress and inspire us.
Leading up to her much anticipated photo exhibition at the MBH, we sat down with multiple threat (and the mastermind behind Veridatta) Rebecca Underdown to chat about “Divine Timing,” her process, her skincare business, and oh so much more. Read on to go above and below with the artist and beauty maven.
What was your original inspiration for this series and how did you land on the name?
This fall I was living at the top of a canyon in Malibu and each evening the clouds would rise from the ocean and creep up the canyon. I would sit there in wonder watching the clouds change and mimic the waves of the ocean. This was the inspiration for the whole series because I had never seen anything like it.
Most of the “Below” photos were taken after the Malibu fires and there was matter in the air which is why they are so unique. The concept of “Above + Below” came from my interpretation of yin and yang and how there is beauty and wonderment in both.
What is your personal definition of “Divine Timing” and how do these photos help you connect with it?
I use photography as a way for me to measure my own sense of being in the right place and right time. If I am in alignment with myself then I wind up seeing the most majestic light shows the Earth has to offer. If I am forcing it or rushing, I don’t wind up seeing anything that cool.
What message do you hope to convey through these photos?
“Above + Below” is about finding the beauty in all things. The hard things, the weird things, the beautiful things, the quiet things, and the powerful things. There is a big gap right now in the country and everyone is picking sides and trying to be “light” and stay away from “dark.” “Above + Below” is about witnessing the beauty in the light and the dark or the good and the bad and seeing the truth in all of it.
When and how did you first get into photography? Do you remember the first photo you ever took in an art capacity?
I was taking photos throughout grade school because my next door neighbor had a dark room and the whole process fascinated me. It wasn’t until I started to take photos in an art capacity did I begin to not like the process. I took photography in high school and again in college and I didn’t enjoy either because I would get too in my head about taking the photo. Years later I picked up my camera (probably when I had forgotten everything I had learned) and that’s when it got fun again.
Are there any parallels between your approach to your art and your approach to your skincare business?
I like clean lines. In the 6th grade I had covered the walls of my room with photos that I had taken and I bordered the entire room with torn out Clinique ads from magazines. I wasn’t particularly into Clinique products at the time but I was obsessed with their ads! It makes me laugh to think about now because I had essentially decided upon the esthetic for Veridatta when I was in the 6th grade and I have stuck to it: clean and bold.
Which aspect of each is the most challenging? Which is the most rewarding?
Veridatta is a very detail oriented business. There is no room for error when it comes to marrying an oil to a water. Everything has to be perfect. This is fun on some days, but when there are a million different things going on in the background, it is very challenging. If a production day goes without a hitch then the experience is extremely rewarding.
If I put the same kind of pressure on myself to take a good photo, I don’t get a good photo. So the most challenging thing for me with photography is to have very low expectations. Ha! I have to be loosey goosey about the whole thing and that is when things seem to flow. The reward is that the process unwinds me from the details of Veridatta.
You’ve long been a friend of the MBH, but this is the first time we’re exhibiting your art! What makes it the ideal setting for this series in particular and what are you looking forward to most about this show?
I love the MBH crew. They have been incredibly supportive of my work and I was excited to present to them this perspective of the sea. I am looking forward to showing my friends what I saw this year!!
Don’t miss the Opening Reception of Rebecca Underdown’s “Above + Below” at the MBH on Friday, May, 24th from 6-10pm. There’s no better way to kick off Memorial Day Weekend!
As always, peep our calendar for event details and to RSVP.