The Bloemfontein-born, Cape Town-based Gabriella Pereira Achadinha is a femme fatale that possesses a fierce beauty and moves through life with both strength and grace. In-between the often chaotic production work she’s involved in, you’ll find Gabi dashing around with her yoga mat safely intact or dancing to old school ’90s hip hop from dusk till dawn; both being a release from the 9-5 often over-the-top demands that the film industry is notorious for. Leaving the profanities to the producers, Gabi clears her cache by capturing the many faces and facets of the environment she continues to explore. While she discovers more about the South African landscape and its people, we attempt to discover a little more about her…

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Other than photographers, what other individuals (in any or no profession) influence you in your photography?
Films and their cinematography have quite an influence on my work. The works of David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, Giuseppe Tornatore and Park Chan-Wook in particular. As well as Art, close friends, strangers with eccentric habits, and diverse landscapes.

What role does nature/the environment you live in your work?
I prefer photographing the natural, which often means me shooting in natural landscapes around Cape Town. Our natural light, forests, and beaches are sublime; it would be a pity not to utilize them. I’ve recently started exploring more of Cape Town’s urban spaces in relation to a growing interest in street photography.

It’s essential to navigate spaces with respect and thought for the subjects. I prefer interacting with a subject that lives in that space and representing their view of their environment.

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If you took is into your room, what would be your most valued items (not in terms of price)?
Photo album (clichéd, but very valued nonetheless!), two baby Nikons, and a Bronica.

Apart from the tangible – what (recalled in detail or perhaps just a fleeting memory) would you say have been the most significant moments/lessons in your life?
Death/loss.
Learning to let go.
Traveling, nothing can ever substitute the wisdom and thrill it gives.
Love is not love.

What have been some of the personal struggles you have had to face up to in the photography you do?
I personally haven’t felt as if I’ve experienced any sort of extremely difficult struggle. The transition from film to digital has and still is a bit tough for me. Photography is a passion I’ve kept removed from my career so I have been fortunate enough to shoot what I want, when I want. There’s no monetary reward I receive from it.

What makes your heart skip a beat?
Friendly Strangers.
Q-Tip.
Receiving 35mm film back from the process lab.
Decent documentaries.

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When do you feel:

a) most comfortable behind a lens?
When the subject is willing and enthusiastic to be in front of the lens and not trying to be overtly sensual. There’s nothing more satisfying than working with someone who is comfortable with who they are.

b) least comfortable behind a lens?
Photographing people I don’t know, as in candid street photography.

If you could sit down with any photographer – alive or dead – who would it be and what would you ask them?
Graciela Iturbide: “How do you get that emotion from your subjects?”

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The most bizarre thing that has happened on a shoot so far? Or perhaps the most bizarre subject… ?
Strangely enough, nothing really bizarre has happened on a shoot so far. They’re usually relaxed and tame.

Who is Gabi going forward in what remains of The Year of the Horse… ?
Working on further film production projects, shooting as many passion projects and trying to be a nicer person.

Do you think it is possible to capture Beauty, and have you done so?

Beauty is not what it is and is exactly what it should be. Beauty is not money, altered, nor is it obsessive. It’s personal. Beauty can and cannot be captured, the eye of the beholder is always of different minds and opinions. I hope people find beauty in some of my works, if they don’t that’s perfectly fine too.

To remember this particular moment forever, tell me five specific details that exist right now?
Mist.
Nostalgia.
School children shouting.
Mothers shouting.
Soup.

If you could capture the essence of Cape Town in an image… What would this image look like?
That’s impossible. Cape Town is too diverse, enigmatic, and problematic to capture in one image.

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Credits:

Featured: Saturday by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Abigail Landelle, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 1: Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha
Image 2: Heroine by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Talesha, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 3: Heroine by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Talesha, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 4: Heroine by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Talesha, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 5: Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha
Image 6: Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha
Image 7: Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha
Image 8: Saturday by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Abigail Landelle, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 9: Saturday by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Abigail Landelle, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 10:Saturday by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha, Stylist: Jade Paton, Model: Abigail Landelle, Retouching: Marlize Eckard
Image 11:Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha
Image 12:Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha
Image 13:Untitled by Gabriella Pereira Achadinha

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