Interview With Controversial Celebrity Photographer Tyler Shields

Hollywood is synonymous with glitz and glamour, revolving around beautiful people with iconic lives. However, there's also a darkness lying beneath the bright lights of Hollywood and it's filled with meaningless sex, addiction, breakdowns, vicious rumors, loss of privacy, overexposure, and depression. Not many people have publicly delved into that world but with every new generation comes a person who enjoys digging the dirt out from under the mask, reconciling the beauty with the trauma. Photographer Tyler Shields is such a person.

Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Shields is completely self-taught and rose to fame quicker than most. His career began when he started directing music videos, quickly making a name for himself amongst the famous faces he worked with. Once he branched into the world of photography by posting photos on his MySpace, the relationships he made helped him to gain the trust of various celebrities, allowing him to take the types of controversial shots he's known for. From one of his very first professional photo shoots with Ben Foster (where he asked the actor to leap off a roof) to his more recent controversial photos that feature girlfriend Francesca Eastwood taking a chainsaw to a Birkin bag, the 30-year-old certainly knows how to market himself and does it well.


With his penchant for scenes of blood, black eyes, sex, and violence, Shields has made himself into the "cool" photographer, the one who will gladly push the boundaries if it means dynamic shots. Of course, with rabid fans come rabid haters, and Shields gets his fair share of them. His photo series with Glee star Heather Morris, heavily made up with an impressive shiner, got him a plethora of hate mail and death threats, dismissing him as a supporter of domestic violence. Photographing The OC actress Mischa Barton with a slab of raw beef got many animal rights groups up in arms, with people sending letters threatening to cut his own flesh apart. Destroying the $100,000 Birkin bag, first by chainsaw and then by fire, resulted in a wave of protesters angry over his apparent disregard for the economy, many of the angered beings fans of the coveted symbol of affluence.

However, with every angry letter Tyler Shields receives, he probably gets a hundred times that in new fans, only further solidifying his popularity and success. His prints are sold anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 at galleries in London and Los Angeles, with incredibly famous actors, actresses, filmmakers, and fellow photographers as proud owners. He's also taken acting roles in indie films, is directing the upcoming Final Girl starring Abigail Breslin, is a published author, and regularly appears on E!'s Mrs. Eastwood & Company with Francesca Eastwood.

Most recently, Tyler Shields has been added to the list of artists featured at the Tate Modern in London. By displaying one of the photos from his "Bad Barbie" series, the major art museum has given the photographer even more legitimacy in the face of those who doubt his talent. According to ArtInfo, Simon Baker, the museum's curator of photography and international art, made the choice to honor Shields last February after he saw the opening of Shields' exhibition at the Intimate Modern Gallery. This new development in Sheilds' career is sure to make other museums take notice and will hopefully be a move towards more gallery displays in the future. lltitle=Interview With Photographer Tyler Shields### llcontent=Tyler Shields has quickly made a name for himself in the photography world through his striking shots filled with incredibly famous faces. In this interview he talks about upcoming projects, working with his famous friends, and what it's like in the middle of controversy.

Mila Pantovich

An avid traveler, Mila Pantovich splits her time between San Diego, CA and Banff, AB Canada. She has been working with JustLuxe as a writer and editor since 2012 and has been featured in several publications, including Huffington Post. Additionally, she works in content design at Intuit. Follow her travels on Instagram: @MilaPantovich ...(Read More)

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