Mar 02, 2017
Gabrielle is a young French photographer and artist who centers her work around sheer and expressive black & white imagery. Inspired by paintings, old pictures and engravings, her intriguing images transport us to a new dimension where we are freed to construct intricate narratives. With images that could belong to a horror film, her series “Basque country” cleverly portrays the unique roughness and beauty of this place. Combining landscapes with portraits and social happenings, Gabrielle creates an animated sequence that reflects the particular character of this land, letting us imagine the stories behind.
Following we present an interview that we had with Gabrielle:
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
GD - I am Gabrielle, I was born in the south of France and I have Portuguese and American roots from my mother. I studied Art History and plastic arts before I devoted myself to photography.
am - How did you start in photography?
GD - I never imagined being a photographer. I remember my first pictures trying to capture the faces of my family and friends with a tele-lens … It had become an obsession. If I ever left without my camera, I struggled to see with a naked eye. Fortunately this is not so much the case today. I started with colour photography until I discovered black & white, and then my vision fully merged into it. And of course, the process of working in the lab captivated me; I was not only attracted, but also fascinated by the loneliness in this discipline. I took inspiration from old pictures in old books.
am - What is “Pays Basque” about?
GD - Le Pays Basque is a small territory that runs a bit on France and a little on Spain. Over there nature is racy, very beautiful, and the traditions are as intense as the identity of the people. I took this land as a guiding theme to start my first real series with a subject. Before that, I used to snap spontaneously, randomly and without concept. For this project I have become a wanderer and I take all the freedoms, like making intimate portraits of my friends; and by losing myself on the roads I’ve been trying to absorb the energy of these landscapes. Sometimes I’m also more anthropological, attending religious and popular festivals, gatherings in the villages, or following some farmers at work. I still live in the Basque Country, so this subject continues to develop naturally over the years.
am - What inspires your work?
GD - When young I was nourished by paintings and the art of portrait in general. Later I discovered some photogravures of the early XX century that moved me and helped me to extend my inspiration. What interests me in photography is creating little worlds, fictional characters and dreaming on them. I like ambiguous images, which deviate from reality. Today I am a little less into phantasmagoria and I like to work on commission around unexpected subjects.
am - Who are some of your favourite contemporary photographers?
GD - The photographs of Michael Ackermann engulf me. I also admire photojournalists that bring back beautiful and informative images from the other parts of the world.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
GD - A film that dazzled me lately is John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
GD - I have few photo books, the last one that I would like to have at home would be ‘Valparaiso’ by Sergio Larrain.
am - Do you have any project in mind that could be a personal or professional challenge?
GD - Among thousand things, I’m longing to return to India.
Gabrielle's work was featured on our Fourth Printed Issue published in 2017
that you can purchase here.