Gilt Groupe is full of folks with extracurricular interests. Gilt MAN editorial director Tyler Thoreson has been known to shoot a clay pigeon or two with of-the-moment menswear designers; style editor Jared Flint is a mainstay on the pickup basketball circuit; I dabble every now and again in singer-songwriting. And Henry Hargreaves—who photographs models and still-lifes for Gilt and numerous other clients, including Christie’s, Boucheron, and Timo Weiland—has twin passions: anaglyph 3-D photography and the female form. His brilliantly shot (and titled!) new book, 3DD: A Celebration of Breasts, explores the intersection of the two in a way that’s both tasteful and admirably catholic (note: little c). Says the photographer, “I wanted to show big boobs, small boobs, different nipples, asymmetrical boobs, that sort of thing.” Any Gilt models appear in the book? “Ah, no,” laughs the New Zealand-born photographer “I haven’t been mixing the business and the pleasure down there at the Navy Yard studios.” We called Hargreaves to make certain that’s true.
Conceptually, it doesn’t get much stronger than this: Breasts in 3-D. Whose idea was it?
It was mine. I did a fashion shoot awhile back in the anaglyph 3-D style, and I just knew I wanted to pursue a bigger project. So I thought, what would work well in 3-D? Portraits or landscapes or fashion all seemed like they’d be kind of lame. I mean, what is 3-D? It’s kitsch, it’s playful, it’s fun. And then it came to me: boobs. They’d work perfectly in 3-D, and it’d be great to have an excuse to shoot them. So here we are…
The research for this project must’ve been awfully tough. How’d you find all the girls?
Half of them are models, and the other half are friends.
Wait, you’re friends with these girls?
Yeah, about half of them. I mean, I started by shooting models, but then a lot of my friends started seeing the pictures. The photos are fun, and flattering, and anonymous. And it turns out a lot of my girlfriends wanted to have their boobs immortalized in 3-D while they’re good and young and perky.
Where did you shoot?
Well, I tried as much as possible to shoot at the girls’ apartments.
At their apartments.
Yeah, and I’d think, you know, let’s go up on the roof, or this shower could really lend itself well…
Ah, to be Henry Hargreaves.
[laughs] Yes. But for me, it’s really about the shot. It’s not this sexy, erotic thing. 3-D is technical: I have to get two good shots, and they have to be shot the same distance as your eyes are apart.
There’s one in a bathtub, with a girl holding a glass of champagne. That was taken at a dinner party at a buddy of mine’s place. I’d been talking about the project, and one of the girls at the party just said, “Look, I’d love to be in it. Can you shoot me now?” So in between courses, we ran a bubble bath, and that was that…
So I have to ask: Are they all real?
All of them are real. It was about the only criteria. My thing was, I wanted girls of all shapes and sizes and ethnicities. I mean, as much as I like Playboy and all that, it kind of gets a little bit boring when it’s just one ideal of beauty.
How has the book been received by women?
Very well, I think. I think they’re often very fascinated by how boobs differ from girl to girl. And because I went down this route I’m not polarizing the female viewer. They’ve responded just as well as the guys, which to me is really, really cool.
Who has the best of all time?
The best boobs?
I’m one of those guys… I’m just a boob enthusiast, so I like all shapes and sizes. I like different boobs for a lot of different reasons. But when I was growing up I used to be really fascinated by the Russ Meyer movies, and all the girls, with those impossible proportions. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to realize, well, maybe the massive boobs aren’t my favorite after all… And in my personal life, it doesn’t really matter how big they are. I just like boobs!
The 3-D glasses that come with the book are actually kind of cool-looking. They have that aviator shape…
Yeah, totally. On the cover of the book, there’s a girl wearing 3-D aviators. And when you buy the book through the website, we send you those plastic aviators for free as a bonus.
Have you spotted anyone wearing ‘em around town?
Not yet. But we did an event recently with Marc Jacobs’s new bookstore, BookMarc, and the woman who runs it said she’d been down in Savannah for a Marc event, and that [Marc Jacobs CEO] Robert Duffy was wearing the glasses at the party. So they’ve got his stamp of approval, I guess.
Well, there’s been a lot of talk about, you know, butts… But at the end of the day, boobs are my gig.
So I gather.
Yeah, I’m just not a butt guy.
3DD: A 3-D Celebration of Breasts (Seven Footer Press), available here.
And for, yes, more breasts, check out 3DD/Day.