Tyler Shields is an American Photographer, screenwriter, director and former professional inline skater who has been labeled by some as “Hollywood’s favorite photographer”. He is best known for his unparalleled, controversial, shock evoking photographs of Hollywood Celebrities.
Born in 1982 in Jacksonville, FL, Shields began his career as a professional inline skater, and competed in the X Games in ‘99 and 2000, in addition to touring with Tony Hawk in 2003. Shields became interested in photography and began posting a few of his photographs online. At the age of 18, he decided to move to LA in order to pursue photography and the arts. Shields’ work employs many themes such as eroticism, torture, and decadence among many more, as well as the obscure aspect of his works which invites the spectator to inject their own identity and experience into the artworks. In addition to his Fine Art Photographs, Shields has shot campaigns for brands such as Nike, Adidas, Playboy, Harley Davidson, and many others. His mediums and outputs vary from books of his works, such as “The Dirty Side of Glamour” (2011) and “Provocateur” (2017), in addition to solo exhibitions, as well as completing his first feature-length thriller film “Final Girl” in 2015.
Early in his career, Shields achieved recognition by posting his photographs on websites like MySpace. “I took a picture of a closet that became really famous on the internet back in the days when MySpace first started. A girlfriend cheated on me, so I took all her shit and I threw it out,” says Shields. An unknown advertising agency saw this picture, purchased it and went on to commission him to shoot an ad campaign. Being in Hollywood, having recently moved to LA, Shields was beginning to understand the power of social media and the concept of celebrity. Not only were his photos being bought, but people began to want to be featured in Shield’s photographs, “..then the people who I was shooting weren’t famous but became famous. And famous people started wanting to shoot.” His photographs capture the over-the-top, brutal aspects of contemporary celebrity culture whilst playing with the notions of the role of the gaze, hyper-realism and power structures.
His recent book, “Provocateur: Photographs by Tyler Shields” (2017) carries a varied collection of his images that engage and surprise his viewers. The themes of these works vary from consumerism, violence, fantasy, and eroticism. This book brings together his most compelling and daring work thus far, including his glamour portraits and landscape scenes.
Shields’ talent goes beyond shock. His unique, sinister and daring lens through which he composes and creates his work enables him to push boundaries and experiment with tweaking the Hollywood mystique. The mystery behind his relationships and habits captivate the media, not unlike the art world’s best-known friend of the famous, Andy Warhol.