Coffee Cups of the World by Henry Hargreaves

Though New Zealander Henry Hargreaves thoroughly enjoyed his time as a fashion model, he decided from the outset that his career on the catwalk would have an expiration date and he stuck to it, retiring from modelling full time in 2004 to take up photography. He has since cultivated a significant online following.

The success of his first series The Hipster Strikes Back made Hargreaves realise that his photography didn’t have to be too serious to attract interest from potential clients; it just had to be personal. “I decided that this was going to be my strategy: to create content that I wanted to see; figure out ways to get it displayed online and then hopefully everything would fall into place.”

His series No Seconds  –  in which he re-created and photographed the last meals eaten by some of the most notorious killers before their execution  –  was an enormous hit, gaining mainstream attention and almost 2,500,000 views on Buzzfeed alone.

Hargreaves followed up that success with Deep Fried Gadgets. This series originated from an idea to deep fry letters of the alphabet that he’d pitched to a cutting edge fashion magazine  –  who then promptly hired another photographer to shoot it. He decided his best recourse was to immediately shoot a complete deep fried series for himself. The resulting photo-essay was picked up by the Huffington Post, New York Daily News, Cool Hunting, PSFK, Fast Company, Mashable and Wired to name a few. It was a fitting victory.

Since then, Hargreaves has been prolific, publishing a number of new series including Band Riders, Gingerbread Art Museums and Food Maps (in collaboration with food stylist Caitlin Levin). Earlier this year he published Doomsday Preppers, which was also the subject for his TedX talk.

Back in 2014, he started on Coffee Cups of the World, a new project which would turn out to be altogether different from any he’d done before.

Henry began collecting branded coffee cups from all over New York and the US, as well as on trips back home to New Zealand and Europe. “I collected enough coffee cups to be able to release one a day, collecting 60 or 70 cups over three of four months. Once I had enough, I started putting them out there.”

To date, he has posted 448 cups, and a large majority of those were submitted by outside contributors. The success of Coffee Cups of the World made him realise that a great idea is no longer solely dependent upon him taking all (or indeed any) of the photographs.

Hargreaves is currently working on a new project centred around photographing the staff meals prepared in popular restaurants.

Original article by James Bareham, Medium, August 12, 2015.

Photo by James Bareham.

Tags: coffee cups  Henry Hargreaves  Medium  

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