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Through the Lens: Santos

Our Through the Lens interviews offer a never-before-seen view of our favorite communities. This time we look Through the Lens with Lucas Pinhel as he captures the vast, beautiful landscape of Santos.

When Lucas Pinhel was invited to Santos, Brazil, to experience Sheraton’s “Heart of the City” local, cultural celebration, he couldn’t have been more thrilled — it would be a chance to relive some of his most cherished childhood memories.

Nowadays he’s one of the most sought-after photographers and video makers in Brazil, spending his time traveling the world to create awe-inspiring videos. Coming back home to a place so dear to him was an unexpected surprise.

We spoke with Lucas to gather his insights about the Sheraton Santos Hotel, to see Santos’ beauty through his lens and to understand how the surrounding community impacts his work.

Sheraton Club with view of Santos through windows

Your Instagram stories around your stay in the Sheraton Santos Hotel were amazing. How was your experience?

I was extremely excited to stay at the Sheraton Santos Hotel. I grew up in nearby Guarujá, but my great-grandmother lived at Santos’ beachfront, not too far away from the hotel, actually. My parents always encouraged me to visit her, and I have fond memories of us walking together along the promenade and enjoying the gardens.

We were presented with an incredible sunset on the day we arrived [at the Sheraton], so it was like going back in time, being a child holding my great-grandmother’s hand, which really touched me.

Indoor pool with view of Santos

What are your thoughts and impressions of the Sheraton property?

It was fantastic! In Brazil, I believe it was the hotel with the most impeccable design and structure I’ve ever stayed at. And it wasn’t only one thing; it was the entire experience.

You perceive high quality when the hotel pays attention to every little detail. The room was spacious with amazing lighting, which is a must for photography, and I felt like the bed and duvet were hugging me. But my favorite facility was the heated swimming pool — it has an incredible view of the city, some private bungalows and a bar at your disposal.

I suppose I was impressed by the fact that such a respected and international brand like the Sheraton created a modern and luxurious hotel and still kept the essence of Santos alive. As you walk through the halls and corridors, you can see pictures of the beachfront, the local fishermen and the port, among many others. The “Heart of the City” initiative did truly manage to mix the local culture into the beautifully designed hotel — a round of applause!

Were there any other pleasant surprises?

Absolutely! The panel where people can take pictures as if they are hang gliding over the gardens was a great idea.

Hang gliding display

Let’s talk a bit about the surrounding area of Santos. Can you tell us about this community, the landscape and the feelings they evoke?

My childhood with my great-grandmother was phenomenal. Apart from enjoying the beachfront gardens, we used to walk along the canals during the sunset and watch the dimming sunlight seeping through the buildings, reflecting on the water.

Another fun activity was visiting the fish market near the ferry that connects Santos to Guarujá. I used to go there with my parents to buy fish and loved the hustle and bustle — the women were the ones doing all the selling while the men kept bringing fish and seafood to refill the stalls.

How does your relationship to Santos change through photography?

When you visit any city as a photographer, it’s like a voyeur paying attention to the little details, and it wasn’t any different with Santos. As a matter of fact, I had the chance to capture the gardens using a drone for the first time, and it gave me a whole new perspective of its design, colors and size.

How do you prefer to travel in Santos? Does this impact how you capture and experience the city?

There’s no better way to capture the essence of Santos than to walk around it. I enjoy listening to conversations, observing people’s lives and how they interact with each other. You just can’t do that if you’re driving a car.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative community? What does community mean to you?

Community for me is a mix of coexistence and sustainability. People need to be able to live with each other peacefully and also respect nature. In the professional world, I see it pretty much in the same way — it’s about being ethical. I always try to give back to the community by hosting two photography workshops a month, in all Brazilian states.

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Associate opening hotel entrance door