Written by Salina Mahoney.
Read this original post and more at My Honey & Co.
Rebecca Orlandini is a 22 year old photographer from Pasadena, California. She has been taking pictures since the 1st grade. She remembers the favorite photo she’s ever taken occurring in Belize, while riding a gold cart and snapping the beautiful environment and people all around her. In the future, she’d like to own her own photography business where she can travel the world.
I love that Rebecca is April’s Boss Lady! She talks a lot about finding and building her own tribe and I think that’s incredibly important for us to remember. If you can’t find it, build it yourself.
When Rebecca unveiled her thesis photography project at CalArts (where we both attend) I was inspired to interview her for the blog. Not only were the images powerful, a message of women’s empowerment rang clear.
Salina: The “Found My Soul” thesis presentation is the last show of your undergraduate career here at CalArts. How did your show opening feel? And congratulations on your upcoming graduation!
Rebecca: Thanks so much! The opening was amazing I felt so supported by my family, friend, and even some CalArts students and faculty. It was a great end to my 4 years at CalArts.
S: Let’s talk about the inspirational community behind “Found My Soul.” I’d love to hear about your experience with them and what drove you to create this work.
R: Well, I have been cycling with SoulCycle for over a year and it has changed me mentally and physically in a positive way. I started photographing the fast past environment and capturing certain riders that have inspired and supported me. I am involved within in this community and have built relationships with generous and loving people. I have been shooting the riders when they are finished with their classes, outside of the studio. The feeling of euphoria you get when you have completed a class is like no other, so I wanted to capture that feeling.
SoulCycle has made me feel positive; wanting to make everyday optimistic and exert that energy to others.
I also did not find a supportive community through CalArts and I found it within SoulCycle so I decided to create my final thesis on this idea and share it with the art world.
S: The photographs are direct and personal. What type of relationships did you have and/or did you create with those being photographed?
R: The camera really helped me become more apart of the SoulCycle community. It made me step out of my comfort zone and really communicate with the riders. That’s what I love about photography, it makes you push your limits as a person. For me at least.
S: The thing that is so exciting about your show is that it empowers the community it was created about. I can imagine it in all SoulCycle venues across Southern California. Do you have commercial aspirations with this work or works like this in the future?
R: Oh, that would be so amazing to have my photographs in all the SoulCycle studios- would be a dream! I would love to keep going with this collection throughout all of the studios across the country. It was so much fun (yet challenging) creating these photographs; I would be honored to keep going with it.
S: I saw on your Instagram story that someone had scribbled the word “transfer” on a flyer for your show. How rude! How do you deal with negativity like this?
R: Yeah, it was a bummer. [At first], I was kind of happy about it because my show was stirring up some emotions in people. I didn’t really think of it as anything but then I took it to the art office and they were more offended and as I kept thinking about it, I felt invaded.
CalArts students should know to respects another artist’s work. I thought it was comical yet invading so I have mixed feelings. [Laughs].
S: I would imagine! So, how have you grown through creating this work?
R: I have found my voice in a different community and also have created great connections and relationships. Personally, I shot these photographs because I couldn’t find a supportive community through CalArts and this was an environment that was so supportive and loving and I thought I should share that with the world and the art world as well.
S: Taking a look back on your undergraduate years, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned about photography and life that will propel you into your future?
R: Well, from my first year at CalArts till now, I have grown so much. I really didn’t understand what it meant to have a collection of photographs and didn’t know how to explain my work and process. It is crazy to see how I was able to explain my show so well and confidently. Its great to know I have learned so much from CalArts.
CalArts really pushes you to be on your own and independent. Having to stay on top of your studies and meetings with teachers… CalArts has taught me to find my voice and speak my mind. Also, I would say, I will be confident in trying to find a job in my future!
S: Thank you for the inspiration, Rebecca!
All photos are (of course) property of Rebecca Orlandini.