DAZED : São Paulo Kids
A new photographic series aims to bypass the stereotypes of the Brazilian city and explore what it’s really like to live there
Photographer: Hick Duarte
Styling: Nazanin Shahnavaz
What comes to mind when you think of Brazil? The sprawling, golden expanse of Copacabana beach and the wild scenes of Rio Carnival? Or, at the other end of the spectrum, the violence and gang-related crime that permeates the alleyways of its favelas? While the country is often portrayed as a place of extreme glamour and danger in the media, there is, of course, a lot more to it than that – which stylist and writer Nazanin Shahnavaz and photographer Hick Duarte set out to spotlight in their new project.
Shahnavaz headed to São Paulo and befriended a group of young creatives, who she shot and interviewed with local photographer Duarte over the course of a few days in the city. Their aim was to get past the stereotypes and instead capture what it’s really like to live there. “We cast models, an actress, a DJ, and some skaters we met,” explains Shahnavaz. “We wanted to explore what it’s like to be young and creative in one of the world’s largest cities. There’s a mixing of cultures that runs deep in São Paulo, which gives it a vivid personality, and there’s a constant exchange of ideas, traditions, and aspirations that makes anything feel possible.”
Taking into account the city’s growing fashion scene, the group was dressed almost entirely in emerging Brazilian labels, with the likes of Beira, Cajá, Sometimes Always, and Another Place among them. The clothes are all understated, though, and the personalities of those featured shine through. “We didn’t want it to feel contrived,” says Shahnavaz. “The clothes are always complimentary to their own personal style.”
Photographer Duarte echoes Shahnavaz’s sentiment when it comes to the diversity and vibrancy of the city. “A short subway ride can take you from what feels like Beverly Hills to Detroit,” he says. “Brazil has a rich aesthetic legacy and I’m fascinated by how creatives are reinterpreting these codes in their work, and mixing them with elements of global culture. There are endless stories waiting to be told in São Paulo if you are willing to search for them.”