Like a good number of fashion photographers, modeling was Henry Hargreaves’ initial introduction to the industry. That is, until he was commissioned to shoot food in a restaurant. What he found was that still life allowed to form a clearer vision for his work, rather than depending on models as subjects. Today, he is driven by subtly playful—or sometimes raw, dark—emotion and an experimental aesthetic, notable in his Why We Fight series, where he objectively attacks the symbolistic representation of war and how it affects us as individuals.
“There were these very simple themes that jumped out to me regarding the Middle Eastern wars: oil, death, religion, and how each aspect is untrusting of the other,” he said. “I wanted it to be very stark, very black and white. I think that’s how people’s opinions fall about these things. Very few fall into a passive middle ground, so I wanted to reflect that.”
This process behind series, created with set stylist Nicole Heffron and showcased in his Dripbook Portfolio, was simple: cover wartime objects in very light cloth to get the shape of the outline coming through them. At first, he attempted to do this by covering the props in motor oil, which was too thick to create a poignant outline around the objects. As a substitute, they used black paint and lighting to recreate the shine of oil.
“I think the power of a really good image is something that’s almost like looking into a mirror—something that lets the viewer draw their own conclusions, “ he said. “I’m not trying to tell anyone anything, or say that my opinions are right or wrong. Instead, I’m asking these things as a question opposed to a statement.”
See more chilling shots from this series below and tell us your interpretation in the comments.
Visit Hargreaves’ Dripbook portfolio for more of his work.