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StreetWise – 24HourProject Interview with Fabs Grassi

This is the fifth of nine interviews that Sheldon Serkin has completed with photographers involved with the incredible 24HourProject, please see his introductory article here. We have put each interview into a separate article so that it’s easier for you to navigate, they can all be found under our new column StreetWise, here.

This one is with Fabs Grassi

Who are you, both in real life and on instragram?

My name is Fabs Grassi in Instagram and Fabiano Grassi in “real” life but I do prefer Fabs instead of Fabiano haha. I am just an average guy who loves photography.  


Image – @FabsGrassi

‘This one I am quite proud of. It was one of that “very last moments” where the hour was ending and I couldn’t find any shots. Then I saw this guy standing in this wall over me and starting framing it in my viewfinder screen until I find the right compo. The gritty feel, the city concrete, were some things that I was looking for also and talk about human condition without showing a “whole” human can be a nice way to tell a story’.

What city did you document?

São Paulo in the State of São Paulo, Brasil.


Why do you participate in this project?

Well, I’ve been participating since the first season (I guess we can already call it that haha). I’ve been friends with Renzo and Sam since the early days of Instagram and share with them the love for street photography and besides that, the challenge to keep finding images along the 24 hours is the best part.

There was no way I couldn’t be out of it. I remember we were very few in the first year (you were among us I remember hehe) and now we are a lot. It’s really cool to be part of it.


I know that you’ve participated in past years as well. Is participation in the 24 Hour Project now an annual thing for you? Why?

Sure. Because I feel is a special moment between friends all over the world who share the same love for street photography and are mind-linked in many ways.


How did you approach the project this year? Did you plan where to go or have an idea about what you wanted to document, or did you just let fate decide as you wandered through the streets?

Well, I always have a plan for cloudy days and other for sunny days…unfortunately there weren’t sunny days since year one yet haha.

Also, this year I called six street folks and we made a great group to go through the 24 hours. It was Rodrigo’s third time, but the first time to rest of them. It was good to have a great group to walk around and sometimes split into small groups so we could watch for each other many times.

You may think it creates problems about shooting same subjects but we were really looking for different kind of images. If you go check our tag #bocadebueirosp you will see it :).

Talking about the images themselves, last year I was looking for street situations that could give me as many layers as I could find, this year I was more into emotions and ordinary daily situations with characters that could give me some story to tell and not only a good composition.  


What was the biggest challenge you faced during the 24 hours this year?

It’s related to the previous question: find the right story to tell. There were hours that I came to the last ten minutes without any decent shot. But that’s what makes it so much fun too 🙂 . And the bad weather day that made not easy anyway. We are not like New Yorkers who are used to go out with snow and everything…when it rains here we act like dogs and stay at home haha. So few people in the streets.


Image – @FabsGrassi

That shot you see coming and have only time to push the button when the subject is where you want in frame. The reds around her and the lines that make to her make me like this shot. Here is more about character, her expression and all the red tell a story about a strong personality’.


Do you feel like the time pressure was beneficial to your creativity this year, or did it just make you nervous and diminish the quality of your images slightly?

Maybe I could say it was beneficial. I don’t give up trying to get a good image. If I don’t feel like it’s enough, I don’t do it. Definitely I don’t start to press the shutter like there is no tomorrow.


Did you develop a workflow for every hour in order to manage uploading your next image in time?

No. Even if I had a good shot, I always waited for the next one. Maybe if I stopped and start editing in the middle of the street I could loose the great one haha. So I waited til I could to start editing and posting. I felt no pressure to “upload” in time.


How was your experience this year different from last year? Did you alter your approach at all? If yes, what did you change and how did it work out for you?

Yes, like I said before, last year I was into layers inside street slices situations, this year I was more into emotions, caring less about good compositions, and also I switched from landscape to square format and I always shoot directly in the format I want it. I am much more for rectangular formats, so using square was quite challenging for me.


Did you follow the IG feeds of other excellent photographers taking part in the project while you were out shooting?

Just a quick check after posting. First because I stay offline to save battery  most of the time and also because I feel like the best thing I can do is to be really focus on the task in hand. And before start, I avoid seeing too much in order to not be so influenced by the ones I love like @aikbengchia and some others 🙂


What was your secret to staying up so long?

Really, the idea of doing it. I mean, the state of alert. Of course the body is totally destroyed, but my mind kept awake to see. Of course, I am aware that after so many hours we start losing something haha. Drinking water and some energy drinks and taking some painkillers helped a lot the body part of the marathon. I don’t drink coffee so I need to have different drinks.


Was there a point when you considered giving up and going home? Did you walk the whole 24 hours?

No, never. And yes, I kept walking most of the 24 hours.


Image – @FabsGrassi

Again, talk about humans without any human in scene.  Again, the concrete, the grit bringing some noise and some uncomfortable feeling. The empty board, the empty chairs…it’s so lonely and at the same time, so full of noise. And there’s nothing organic on it. It’s also something that tell about human condition without any human in there’.


Please share your 3 favorite images from the day and talk about why they are your favorites.

All of the above.

What were some thoughts that ran through your mind when you were finally able to crash into bed?

“Jeeeezz where were all the shots I needed today???” hahaha


Any final thoughts? (optional!)

Looking forward to the next one! I recommend everyone who loves street photography to have this experience.


Sheldon has been shooting street photography in New York City with an iPhone since 2010. His work has been featured on a number of popular websites, including He is currently preparing Awful Bliss, his first book of street photographs, and posts daily on instagram, eyeem, and flickr as @shelserkin, and on his blog,