Stefy Pocket and Jake Hunte candidly capture the Cariocas of Rio just a few days before lockdown

Travelling to Rio at the last minute back in early March, the duo allowed the subjects of their work to lead the outcome making for a wholeheartedly natural series.

Date
30 July 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

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As a photographer whose work is filled with the expressions of her subjects, Stefy Pocket is understandably missing the candid nature of her usual practice. “I miss photographing people on the street and I think about that feeling often,” she tells It’s Nice That. Thankfully however, Stefy and her good friend and collaborator Jake Hunte spent the last few days of normal life in March in Rio De Janeiro doing exactly that, before heading back to their home of London for lockdown.

For the impulsive trip, Stefy and Jake decided to join friends travelling to Brazil to instigate their first collaborative project made outside of the UK. With the aim “to capture the diversity of the boys of Rio de Janeiro representing their beauty in their natural habitat – the beach,” the resulting series is one that instantly presents “a natural flow attitude”, with the series title, Cariocas, mirroring this perfectly. “Our interactions were very natural in the sense that nothing was forced,” adds Stefy. “We set out each day with the same attitude we always have, letting things naturally take their course.”

Within this approach it’s the relationships, however short in time, that Stefy and Jake build with those photographed that comes across wholeheartedly in each of Cariocas’ shots. Describing this, Stefy explains: “Interacting with our models and hearing their stories was the best part of the shoot. Each one left us an amazing memory. Everyone has such a beautiful personality and was so happy to be photographed and chat to us, even though we were speaking our broken Portuguese.” With this in mind, Jake adds that in his styling, “I didn’t want to change them,” he tells us, “our intention was always to show them and not let the clothes look unnatural to them.” Not overcomplicating or approaching the shoot day with preconceived ideas either, Jake would take out a small tote bag of items and only “once we found a model I would give them the best fitting item to wear.”

GalleryStefy Pocket and Jake Hunte: Cariocas

Looking at the series now, during a time where still talking to strangers so openly feels out of arms reach for many, “For us, this was such a great moment in time,” Stefy reflects. Always dreaming of travelling to Rio and making a project such as this, “to have these memories in a time like this is very important”. It’s true that holding onto memories of creative spontaneity like this remind us that it’s possible, and will be possible again, ultimately proving the importance of human interaction, and “the small things we took for granted that now feel so precious,” as the photographer describes.

Returning back to London when the city was on full lockdown, they've seen it “change from ghost town to a city full of fed up citizens doing their own thing,” adds Jake. Now that life is in the UK is creeping back to normality, and although photographing people with face masks is not the approach Stefy wishes to adopt due to the lack of expression, “I’ve never stopped chatting to people on the street,” she adds. “Humans are social beings and I think in this pandemic era, the contact we have is more crucial than ever.”

It’s exactly this attitude which in being released now, Cariocas evokes in a viewer, but for Jake and Stefy it’s also of course about the individuals featured, and their attitude. “Cariocas are passionate about the sun and the sea, the beach is the centre of life for them,” the pair explain. “With this series we want to celebrate the vibrancy, the diversity and the beauty of the boys we’ve met on the beach,” they conclude. “We want to show the viewers the different walks of life that the beaches of Rio bring together and the mixture of cultures of African and indigenous ancestors and European colonisers.”

GalleryStefy Pocket and Jake Hunte: Cariocas

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Stefy Pocket and Jake Hunte: Cariocas

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

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.

lb@itsnicethat.com

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