Deep Fried Gadgets, Henry Hargreaves

JournalArt & Culture

Deep Fried Gadgets, Henry Hargreaves

iPad and chips anyone?

Ex-model turned still life, art and fashion photographer – for the likes of Ralph Lauren, New York Magazine and Stefan Sagmeister – Henry Hargreaves is also behind some personal projects that put the fun back into photography; not least his 3D boobs book, 3DD. The Brooklyn-based photographer also commits that cardinal childhood sin – playing with his food. From toast portraits of the Queen and Jim Morrison, to a bacon alphabet, Hargreaves is seemingly fascinated… his latest series takes things a step further again; putting your beloved gadgetry on the plate, and – in true Glasgow style – they’ve all spent a little time in a deep fat fryer.

There’s an intriguing 21st century social commentary here too, the thriftlessness of modern consumerism and endless upgrades is painfully apparent in these images – but, for the man behind the 3D boobs, there’s obviously a huge element of playfulness… it certainly raises a smile, one way or another. We spoke to Henry to find out more…

Deep Fried Gadgets

You’ve got an interesting back story – 4 years as a high-end fashion model – how has your experience in front of the camera shaped the way you work?

I never had any bad experiences modeling, but I could see when things didn’t happen efficiently, so I like to think I have taken keys from some of the best people and working experiences, and try to avoid the more counterproductive ways of working. Be nice to your talent, and everyone around you, and half the battle is already won!

Much of your personal projects have involved food – what’s the obsession?

I think it’s such an unexplored genre. Beyond traditional food shots few people have used it to really push the envelope creatively. It’s something people are familiar with, interact with many times a day so why not have some fun with it and present it in non-traditional ways.

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There’s an obvious metaphor in your Deep Fried Gadgets to flippant consumerism, however, taking your 3DD books (Boobs in 3-D, “looking and talking about boobs is just a lot of fun” you say) as an example – it seems that simply having a bit of cheeky fun is a little more important to you. How much was this series a look at society, and how much was just “this is gonna look cool”?

The latter is always the stating point. ‘This will be cool, fun, put a smile on someone’s face, and you know what? As a bonus there is a subtle comment on society’.

Letting the cat out of the bag, the gadgets are not actually real – compliments on making them look so real by the way – was it hard to resist just trying a little something, to see what happened?

Yeah I originally wanted to do real ones but there were obviously some hurdles – they cost a lot, screens would die after being submerged and not look so vibrant, and finally, I wasn’t that keen to see what would happen with a lithium battery meeting 400℉ of cooking oil!

I can’t help but think of Glasgow when I see your Deep Fried Gadgets, ever been to the home of deep fried pizzas and Mars bars?

My gandmother actually lives in Grantown-on-Spey in the north, I havent been to Glasgow but I remember some interesting fried delicacies around the Highlands. Then I come from New Zealand, we may not have invented fish and chips, but no one says it the way we kiwis do!

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Planning on deep frying anything else?

Watch this space…

You recreated death row inmates’ last meals for a fascinating photo series, what would be your last meal?

The Black Label burger at Minetta Tavern in NYC

Who inspires you?

People with really vivid Tumbelogs.

If we came to visit you in Brooklyn, where would you take us?

My favorite joint is a bar called St Mazie‘s in Williamsburg. Live jazz nightly, and an interior that came from a vaudeville theatre, that walked into a timewarp.

What’s next for Henry Hargreaves?

I’m off to Italy to stay with my lady for the first part of the summer, I guess I’ll have to make some projects to keep myself busy, no idea what yet.

Deep Fried Gadgets