At just 19, photographer Gabriel Gayle has a striking gaze
With a practice rooted in striking portraiture, we chat to the photographer about his influences, how he chooses a subject and where his work might develop next.
- Lucy Bourton
- 5 August 2020
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
At the age of 19, London-based photographer Gabriel Gayle is already developing his very own creative viewpoint. Introduced to the medium by his dad, who was a keen hobby photographer, “growing up I was lucky enough to have a bunch of cameras to play around with,” he tells It’s Nice That. This hobby of his own also grew as Gabriel became interested in other creative fields, notably fashion, which led him to work at a fashion-focused studio where’s he been for the past three years.
With a range of influences including Hugo Comte, “someone I’m yet to see make a boring image,” through to heroes such as William Eggleston, “one of the first photographers I ever truly admired and directly pushed me into shooting more people,” more recently it’s been the documentary side of the medium that has piqued Gabriel’s interest.
A noticeable part of his portfolio, most recently shooting a range of portraits at London’s Black Lives Matter protests, is watching documentaries that has enhanced his practice too. “Documentarians like Louis Theroux also inspire me in the way they push groups that would otherwise remain under the radar for the general public into the mainstream,” he adds.
On this note, it’s also the access that a camera grants which keeps Gabriel hooked on the medium, “as it lets me explore and learn from people and places I otherwise wouldn’t interact with,” he outlines. “A huge part of it is also the satisfaction I get from executing thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be pinging around my head.”
Although it appears that his portfolio to date is mostly portraiture, it’s this appreciation for the medium that allows each of Gabriel’s shots to hint to some kind of backstory. Each image, no matter if it’s a fashion shoot or protest, always features a striking portrait usually with the subject looking straight down the lens at the viewer too. “There’s not much of a trend to who I choose to shoot,” he adds on this point. “I only need to have a real personal interest in someone or something. I figure that if I can find something interesting in them, there’s a good chance a viewer will too.”
He’s certainly right in this respect, with us often wondering who or how he’s met the subjects that he picks as a focus. Most recently, with the current circumstances in mind, Gabriel adds that he’s “been having a lot of fun recently shooting my family, my neighbourhood and members of the cycle group, Bike Life.” And while we look forward to seeing how Gabriel’s approach to portraiture might shift when it’s someone he’s personally close with in the frame, the photographer is also utilising this time “to pursue subjects I’ve been meaning to shoot for a long time.” Already developing an eye-opening approach to photography too, we look forward to what Gabriel will produce next, “once we’ve returned to semi-normality.”
GalleryAll images by Gabriel Gayle
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.