‘It’s not ‘hiding’…it’s not being noticed’: Exclusive interview with the creepy photographer of Stokes Croft

It might look like Stokes Croft has its very own Joe Goldberg, but don’t worry, @stokescreeper is not like that


A unique Instagram account, @stokescreeper, emerged in August of this year and yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds. The pictures consist of strangers walking along the streets of Bristol seemingly unaware of the photographer.

The Bristol Tab secured an exclusive interview with the team running the account to discuss why they chose to be the Stokes Creeper, and most importantly, how they manage to do it.

Stokes Croft, lying in the heart of Bristol and forming the cultural and artistic quarter of the city, is so much more than an area sandwiched between Kingsdown and St Pauls.

As you stroll around, you might find yourself spellbound by the abundance of vibrant street art, colourful independent shops and cafes and local live music. What makes this area a community, however, is its people. 

A group of self proclaimed creeps in Stokes Croft have, quite literally, creeped their way into every residents’ lives. @Stokescreeper consists of a group of people who decided that taking pictures of people without them knowing would create the perfect “love letter to Stokes Croft”.

They said the account was originally made to celebrate the fashion scene but it quickly became a celebration of people, and the beauty of the ordinary and the mundane.

The angle of some of the pictures gave me the impression that the photographer must be very talented at hiding, so I asked about their hiding spots, knowing they wouldn’t disclose such information, of course.

I was quickly corrected for my terminology anyway because what they do, “it’s not really hiding … it’s not being noticed”.

Clearly not hiding, Credit: @stokescreeper

Capturing these moments isn’t as easy as one might think as you underestimate how quickly people move once they’re on their way. The snapshot that @stokescreeper want to capture is when people are their true honest selves, not the version they present when asked for a photo.

That honest version tends to be the most beautiful of them all and the team explained that they have learnt much from creating this account. “That people are amazing. Point blank. We love the pride that they have in themselves, the laughter and conversations they share, the purpose with which they go from place to place.”

Being a convergence point, @stokescreeper acknowledges that for so many people, Stokes Croft is a transition point. While this means there’s plenty of moments to capture, it also accentuates the taken-for-granted nature of those moments.

They might have taken people watching a bit too far and to a whole new and odd level, but they fell in love with Stokes Croft and its people. I guess love makes us do crazy things after all. 

If reading this has encouraged you to indulge in similar creepy behaviour, in the name of celebrating Stokes Croft as the place where all the magic happens according to our creeps, they have a message for you:

“If you see someone that makes you go 👀🤩, send a snap our way! We’d love to share your celebration of the amazing people of Stokes Croft”

Make sure you check out their page to see if you and your artsy outfit made the cut. And it goes without saying, next time you’re planning on visiting Stokes Croft, pick your outfit carefully because chances are, someone will be watching you.

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