DKNY: Gabriella Achadinha

25 year old photographer, Gabriella Achadinha grew up in Bloemfontein in the Free State before making the move to Cape Town in 2009 to study Film Production. She’s remained in the Mother City ever since and now works as a freelance photographer and production manager on stills shoots with the occasional wardrobe job. 

For the DKNY Be Desired campaign 4 photographers were invited to explore the urban jungles and gardens of Cape Town and Johannesburg to capture hidden moments inspired by the new DKNY Be Desired fragrance. 

What is the aesthetic behind your photography?

The aesthetic behind my photography has been that of capturing emotion and moments of solitude in street/travel photography, and honing in on individual beauty through female nude or portraiture photography. An appreciation of unique beauty and the exploration of various contemporary culture and diverse landscapes is central to the work I have shot so far.

How does nature inspire you and your work?

I have always been drawn to shooting exteriors/landscapes as opposed to interior; particularly exploring the relationship between the female form and nature. Whilst reading into the DKNY Be fragrance brand identity one immediately notices the importance of nature and season in shaping the campaign, borrowing influence from the freshness and renewal of spring. Each season and its direct effect on the natural landscape is inspiring; the rolling dark grey clouds of a Free State summer storm, the misty drizzle of a Cape Town winter’s morning. Whether it’s tropical Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Karoo desert or the lush forests of the Garden Route, we are certainly spoilt for choice in our South African landscape.

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What inspired your DKNY Secret Garden series of photographs?

Ironically, out of all the fragrance campaigns I’ve seen, the DKNY fragrance campaign with Esther Canadas and Mark Vanderloo in 1999 is the only one that has stuck. There was something unique about them being bare-faced and rain-kissed against a New York urbanscape that I’ve never forgotten. Planning this shoot, the aim was to recreate that feeling of ‘freshness’, yet against a secret garden landscape of flowers that are mostly indigenous to the Western Cape area.

Other inspirations are candyfloss pink spring sunrises, morning fresh dew. The Tahitian women series of artworks by Gaugin; portraits by Picasso. Soft flowing silks, natural beauty found in unique features. Summer rain. 

What location did you choose for the shoot and why? 

I chose Kirstenbosch Gardens as there’s a wide variety of natural backdrops to choose from, from local succulent gardens to popping yellow fynbos and Cape agapanthus. I spent a few hours scouting various parks before the shoot and Kirstenbosch had multiple trees in bloom. Another element was that of comfort for the models. The gardens provided a perfect location to play around uninhibitedly without attracting attention or bothering any other visitors.

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What kind of inspiration did you draw from the fragrance? 

Summer rain, the smell of jasmine and rose after the heat of a long day, candyfloss pinks and sky blues, the natural beauty of a bare face after a swim, soft silks and platters of fresh fruit.
Both the Be Desired and Be Delicious fragrances are both clean and invigorating, devoid from overpowering scents and cluttered notes. This served as inspiration to keep the shoot clean and minimalistic, using styling pieces from local designers Shana Morland and Nicola West that reiterate these themes.

Describe yourself in three words.

Obsessive, Friendly, Mediterranean.

Tell us one thing the public doesn’t know about you.

I’m all about Ingmar Bergman.

See more of Gabriella’s work on her Website, Tumblr and on Instagram. See past projects we’ve published by Gabriella here.  

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Photography: Gabriella Achadinha // Styling: Sarah Byram // MUA: Thandeka Steenkamp // Models: Abigail Landelle, Beatrice Gilbo, Dani O’Neill and Lemu K.

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