Gabriel Moses on his dream project for the club he’s supported his whole life, Manchester United
The London-based photographer and director highlights the human quality in each shoot, most recently expressed in his collaboration with Adidas, You’re not from Manchester.
- Jyni Ong
- 7 October 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Looking back on his childhood, Gabriel Moses, a 22 year old self-taught director and photographer from South London admits he was “football crazy” and, like many youngsters, dreamed of becoming a professional footballer. It’s an obsession he’s carried forward into adulthood, and an obsession with Manchester United in particular who he’s supported all his life. So when he was offered the chance to collaborate with the famous club and Adidas, it’s no wonder Gabriel leapt at the “dream come true” in this sensitive examination of what it means to be a Manchester United fan.
“The whole concept of You’re not from Manchester is a play on words that every London-based United fan hears,” the photographer tells us of the shoot. With “great vibes on set”, the intimate series captures joyous moments of supporting a club, whether you’re actually from the place or not. It feels much more like a family-oriented series than fashion shoot. Young kids are photographed draped in oversized versions of the latest kit while in other moments, Gabriel captures a lesser discussed side to the beautiful game; the privilege and responsibility of being a role model.
Growing up with his older sister who studied fashion, he remembers the ripped out pages that flooded her bedroom walls. Features from Vogue and Dazed subconsciously seeped into his imagination and from this, the young Gabriel discerned what “nice photos looked like,” he tells us, though he didn’t take that much notice of it at the time. From the first time he picked up a camera and starting taking photos, it wasn’t long til Gabriel got his first fashion photography gig. Soon enough, he had been commissioned by the likes of Off-white, Alyx, Converse, Nike and Uefa; just a few of the impressive clients peppering the list.
For Gabriel, “it was as simple as that.” The photos pasted on the walls of his sister’s bedroom impregnated something creative for Gabriel and he admits, “this is why I have this artistic side to me.” That, and the fact his mum used to run arts and crafts workshops when he was young. He also credits his mentor the photographer Jordan Hemingway for helping develop his practice thus far, commenting “it’s been a privilege to be able to learn from people like him.”
Despite the fact he has no formal training of the medium, Gabriel has a distinct style attributed to the fact that his “power comes from knowing nothing essentially.” He started out his photography career with a “childish ignorance” and uses this to his advantage. It’s a freeing element that’s granted his practice a sense of experimentation and unbridled liberty. In turn, he approaches each shoot from “a different angle,” going against the grain and focusing on the human nature of his subjects.
No matter who or what it is, Gabriel strips back the theme of shoot to reveal the universal humanity in the image. Gordan Parks remains a particular source of inspiration for the young photographer who achieved similar results in his work. As Gabriel puts it: “For me, it’s amazing to see the things he achieved as a Black photographer in those times [1940s America] and the way his work is presented, the way you see the human being behind each photo, the way he documented the streets of New York and Mohammed Ali. For me, I always wanted to be that kind of person for my community.” And as a result, Gabriel constantly includes the people around him in his community-building work.
“Since I was a kid I always wanted to build a legacy and share a positive message,” Gabriel continues. It’s a motivation and determination that’s driven his practice so far, propelling him forwards to becoming the in-demand photographer and director that he is today from an untrained youngster. “With everything I do I try to push a certain message,” Gabriel explains, and whether that’s collaborating with brands or executing personal work, this is just the start of what hopes to be a highly promising career for Gabriel. He hints to projects in Nigeria that he hopes to work on soon, somewhere he hasn’t been since he was four. “It will be a great moment to go back home,” he finally goes on to say, “I can’t wait to do my thing. I can’t complain at all.”
GalleryGabriel Moses: You’re not from Manchester made in collaboration with Adidas and Manchester United (Copyright © Gabriel Moses, 2020)
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.