Recent LCC graduate Stefy Pocket is a documentary photographer who’s travelled the world snapping communities and cultures, from London to Jamaica, via Los Angeles and Mexico. Artefact caught up with Stefy for a chat about her background, influences and the impact of street style on her work.
Who is Stefy Pocket? Tell us a bit about your background – growing up, photography and how you got into it?
I’m an Italian photographer, based in London, but currently living the tropical dream in Mexico. I come from Milan where I grew up, and I moved to London seven years ago.
I think I got into photography when I moved to London. There was too much going on for my eyes so I bought a camera and decided to start capturing defining moments and defining characters, recording everything that was surrounding me – from parties, friends, cultures and especially street life.How did your experiences living in London and studying at London College of Communication inspire and influence you?
Since I arrived in London, I’ve always been attracted to my neighbourhoods. I spent the last seven years mostly living in Hackney and the surrounding area. Living in gritty and exciting council estates and neighbourhoods, I’ve always been inspired by the people that live in them, and by London’s vibrant multicultural society.
Studying at LCC of course helped me to develop my knowledge in photo-documentary and photojournalism, and I think it definitely helped me understand and create my own style of photography.
Describe your style of documentary photography – what themes and subject matters particularly interest you, and which artists or photographers inspire you?
My photos are a mix of colour and humour, that deals with details without inhibition and show my own perspective of the society we live in. I like to create that intimate approach to the viewer, producing images that show different perceptions of cultures and lifestyles, always trying to keep my photos honest and real. I’ve spent the last few years travelling all over the world, enjoying the actual experience of spending time with my subjects and listening to their stories.
I’ve always been inspired by many photographers but definitely Martin Parr is the king. His photography is unique and provocative.You’ve shot around the world in some interesting places – have any particularly funny or difficult situations arisen in these locations?
Difficult question… too many things to say! I’m always looking for adventures and everywhere I go I’m always in search of funny and weird situations. Until now, I think the funniest place with the most weird and often difficult situations was Jamaica – so many mad characters to photograph and so many scenes going on in the streets. It’s like a 24/7 tropical ghetto theatre.
Tell us about your work documenting Jamaican culture…
Jamaica Mi Crazy is the title of the fanzine that I printed last summer for my graduation show. Jamaica Mi Crazy takes the viewer exploring the tropical ghetto paradise in the fabulous streets of Spanish Town, where I was living for a month and had the opportunity to meet many different types of people, and crazy and colourful characters.
Everything started last summer when I had the privilege to photograph my friend’s father’s funeral. The funeral started with a diverse Caribbean gathering. The funeral was followed by a huge party, a celebration that lasted 12 hours. It was the first time that I found myself photographing such a touching and intimate moment.
Starting from the funeral, I decided to start a project based on Jamaican culture, my idea was to create a series of photos that relive Spanish Town, the ex-capital of Jamaica. So I decided to travel to Jamaica with my friend. I intended to explore the unique footprints of Jamaican cultural transitions and its environment. I wanted to show special and intimate moments of such a strong and colourful culture. The aim of this project was to bring into focus social questions concerning the Jamaican community and culture where I was living.
What about your recent work shooting in LA?
I was in LA for just a couple of weeks last month, and I decided to shoot strictly in film and photograph the intriguing juxtaposition of LA street style. I just tried to capture what the essence of the style is in the streets of LA – I’m not talking about trends or the crowds around fashion weeks, or critical mass street style, but a subversive approach to street style. I was looking for a more candid and authentic approach, which focuses on capturing people of all genders and all ages, wearing their real everyday clothes. To me, street style is something else than people correlated to fashion; it might be more about a colour, a phrase on a t-shirt, a hairstyle, a detail of what people wear every day, or even just an attitude.
Do you have any other interesting projects in the pipeline?
I don’t want to talk about it, because it’s still a work in progress, but my next project is based in Mexico.
All photos copyright Stefy Pocket 2015