Q+A: Henry Hargreaves, Artist & Food Photographer
Best known for his out-of-the-box and sometimes shocking food photography, former model Henry Hargreaves is no stranger to 3x1. We paid a visit to his Brooklyn studio to chat about a few of his past and future projects. He answered the door wearing a pair of 3x1 jeans that he’s been breaking in since the company's founding in 2011. Here’s what went down.
Q: Your studio space is amazing! What initially drew you to this area years ago?
A: I really liked Bushwick and Williamsburg originally because of their location and proximity to the places that I go to in Manhattan. With the L train, I could go straight down to Union Square, or bike across the bridge and be in the LES. That was the original attraction to it. Now I kind of prefer Bushwick over Williamsburg, just because I see it as a slightly more edgy neighborhood with more interesting things happening.
Q: Tell us about working with The Fat Jewish!
A: He’s one of those people who is always on, you know? There wasn’t a moment where he wasn’t trying to angle to make a joke. Really, really fun and up for anything, which I think is the most important thing for that shoot when we wanted to ice his belly.
Q: Your career as a model/artist has allowed you to travel the world. What are your favorite places you’ve been and why?
A: I was really lucky when I was modeling. I basically took around a guidebook (Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring) and whenever I was in Europe, I would just backpack and go exploring between jobs. I loved Copenhagen. I really loved Austria, especially Innsbruck and Salzburg. I love Venice. I think I was most blown away by Myanmar. Especially a place called Bagan, which is this little area with thousands of temples. I biked around there for a few days and it was absolutely magical.
Q: Speaking of traveling the world, one of your many projects is @coffeecupsoftheworld. You previously said this project is a way to put a smile on people’s faces. Did you expect it to take off the way it did? Do you have a favorite cup and where is it from?
A: I didn’t expect it to become like this. When I traveled to different cities, I would go to all these cafes in between visiting galleries and restaurants. It kind of gave a little narrative to my travels, you know? Now the Instagram is mostly user-generated stuff from all the submissions I get, so that’s really cool and totally unexpected. Favorite cup? I think Five Leaves and the Smile Café. Their cups are what kind of started the whole thing. Suddenly I got a cup where I felt like I was getting my money’s worth - they were stamped so beautifully that I didn’t want to throw them out.
Q: Any upcoming projects in the works that you can share with us?
A: I’m working on a whole series of staff meals and looking at the ritual of how people eat around the world in different restaurants - the staff meal as sort of a reflection of how the restaurant treats its staff. I’m also working on a “tricks of the trade” project, which showcases the different objects that people work with. I’m working on that with Caitlin Levin. We actually just did one on Scott, so that will launch really soon.
Q: For us, the term ‘Made Here’ represents the authenticity of our what we do here, but feel that the term can be applied to different facets of life. How is the 'Made Here' concept relevant to you?
A: For me, ‘made here’ is one of the big things with my art. It’s made - I don’t rely on Photoshop to create the things. So much of what I do is all about the arts and crafts and problem-solving, like, how do I make a gingerbread structure look like a beautiful art museum? How do I make you connect with a prisoner’s last meal - when you look at the photograph it makes the reality of a last meal come together. So to me, that aspect of made here is really strong in my work.