My name is Gabriela Donnachie but only my mother calls me Gabriela, to everyone else I am Gabie.
I am born and bred from Brighton, Hove actually and absolutely adore my hometown. Perhaps that’s why I love being creative, coming from a town that is known for being wacky and out there.
I moved down to Southampton in September 2012 to start my degree at Southampton Solent University. The degree I am currently on is a Television and Video Production degree. I enjoy being at university, I can be independent, self sufficient and completely wild without my parents knowing, but miss home comforts a lot; the novelty soon wears off when you have to start cooking and cleaning for yourself.
I chose to do the degree I am on because my passions are for Television and Film. After I graduate I aspire to work in the industry, ideally I would love to work on productions and idea developments but I am also extremely passionate about writing, so if I could write for Television or Film, I would die a happy woman (as long as it would be successful, otherwise I’d die a depressed woman).
Unlike a lot of people who famously work as film directors/ writers etc, who can pinpoint a specific moment in their lives where they just knew that the career they have now was the meant to be for them. Well unlike those people, I don’t have a one of those, I have memories of various times in my life growing up where now when I look back I know that all those memories have equally guided to me to the path I am on today.
Some of those memories include; the first time I ever watched Goodfellas. This memory is the first time I remember actually watching a piece of art; Film. The rest of the movies I watched growing up were just movies, entertainment, but when my 15 year old Brother let me watch Goodfellas at only 13 years old, it blew my mind.
Although I didn’t watch it was a contextual film student eye like I would today, I watched it with such awe, the violence which was so violent but so comical at the same time, my favourite characters; the stereotypical American/Italian gangsters which would later shape my taste in Film and Television and make me fall in love with The Sopranos. But aside from all of this, that one memorable scene with Robert De Niro and his cigarette. This has stayed fixed in my mind throughout all of the film studies/media courses I have done, it’s that one scene that I remember as my favourite scene of all time, although now mixed with a selected few which I have picked along the way. There is just something about the scene, perhaps it’s the way Scorsese slows the scene down, with the camera tracking toward De Niro and that violent but powerful expression he has on his face. They way he puffs on his cigarette making the smoke circulate his space whilst he thinks about his sick plan. Aside from that one fabulous scene, the whole film is just great and to me it’s a piece of art.
From watching Goodfellas, it took me a good seven years to realise that Scorsese was fantastic, I fell in love with his films and he is a true inspiration. It also took me a long time to realise that It would take me a long time to understand how hard I would have to work to become anything near a filmmaker that he is. It’s easy to say that from watching Goodfellas I fell in love with the American/Italian gangster films which include; The Departed, Casino, Scarface and Reservoir Dogs.
Aside from violent gangster films and the great Scorsese, I also have many other influences from films and television programmes. Some ideas which I love is the fall of the ‘American Dream’ with films like; Revolutionary Road and American Beauty which are both films created by Sam Mendes, another filmmaker which I love. The reason why I love his films are because they are just so truthful, sad but beautiful. When I watch these films, it’s like I connect with the characters, they know that I know the truth about their ‘perfect’ family. That it isn’t so perfect, they have problems like everyone else. It’s the way Mendes creates and progresses these characters which is what makes his films so lovely. For example in Revolutionary Road, We know that Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet who play the married couple in the film, really do love each other but they have just grown older, their dreams and hopes have faded away with everyday mundane life like work and housework, but the audience knows that the love between them will always be there.
Other influences which I have, are films and television programmes which are quintessentially British. Some of the films and television programmes which have influenced me are; This is England, This is England 86 etc, Control, This Years Love and Absolutely Fabulous. I really like the idea of things that are really British and from different ends of the spectrum, for example, This is England compared with Absolutely Fabulous, both British productions but completely different pieces, This is England, the British society in the 80’s and what is was like to be poor in England up north. Much like Control, a biography about Joy Divisions, Ian Curtis. In contrast to Absolutely Fabulous, a pair of toffs who drink champagne all day and dress tragically but living the dream life in London’s posh Holland Park.
Apart from film and television show, there is also one writer that has influenced me ever since I first read one of his plays The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. I feel like when I writer, the characters and the dialogue I writer are very ‘pinteresque’ in a way that I like the idea of conversations being absurd and banal.
From these influences I often incorporate them into my works. For example in my latest photography project; The Journey, I incorporated a lot of my influences. I used the idea of the fall of the ‘American Dream’ but changed it to the fall of the ‘British Dream’, using influence from Sam Mendes’s films, with ideas of family life breaking down and family life not being perfect. I also used influences from literature, specifically from Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust; a book about a marriage breaking down in the aristocratic British society. I used these ideas because I liked the idea of The Journey being influenced heavily by British society, I also used influences from This Years Love, as I wanted my photographs to be very British but also very edgy and gritty. My ideas were also influenced a lot by British music; The Smiths, Joy Division and Jesus and Mary Chain; the type of bands, specially The Smiths, who speak truth about England. I feel like these influences showed particularly in the composition and framing of my still photographs. My model was dressed like a housewife, from the 80’s era, I tried to composite my photographs to be nostalgic, tragic but wanted to keep the photographs beautiful. I also tried to frame the pictures to be cool and British looking, keeping the colouring blue tinted, symbolising the mood but also a very typical British day; cloudy weather and dark.
When creating my blog and its appearance I tried to keep it simplistic and have the same continuity throughout. For example the same fonts, colour schemes, ideas etc. as I like things to be kept simple and chic looking. This is much like my work, I like it to look stylish and not like a pig with make-up on. I put a photograph of myself on the blog, not because I am fond of looking at photographs of myself but because when people read your blog, it’s nice to know who wrote it and so you can connect on an odd level.