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© Tyler Shields

© Tyler Shields

I can’t say that I’m the most clued up on who the most sought after photographers are at present, but one that I’m thankful I’ve come across is American photographer/artist Tyler Shields. I feel lucky to have found such an exceptional artist! His work definitely has a distinctive ‘Tyler Shields’ style, namely a central light focus against an otherwise dark background, the often unexpectedly low or close up viewpoint and 99% of the time (it seems) a celebrity friend.

But don’t go creating preconceived ideas just yet! He’s not including Lindsay Lohan because she’s constantly controversial and he’s not trying to make money out of ‘papping’ her. These are people he’s met who have become a part of his life and his experiences and therefore a part of his work, because his work is his life. His photographs aren’t taken for the sake of simply taking photographs. Peter Parker took photos to sell. Tyler Shields takes them to show what madness he got up to that day.

Even if you’re not familiar with the popular faces that are featured as the photo subjects, you can still enjoy the beautiful images as they are. Every so often I find myself browsing through his website portfolio, just to remind myself of the great photos I’ve forgotten. I have however also been known to search through the photos to see which of my favourite TV actors have made it into Shields’ portfolio *cough* Dianna Agron *cough cough*.

A unique element of Shields’ work in this day and age is that there’s no Photoshop; all the images are real, unchanged and truly breathtaking.

I’ll never forgive myself for not being able to visit Shields’ show/installation in London this year, as it would have made my year to see the photographs in real life. The full-scale images must have been awesome.

The photographs he creates, or rather the things that he does and documents, are ridiculous and yet seem to make perfect sense. Such as his riot photos where roles are reversed; the law enforcement are the assaulted protesters and the protesters/scantily-clad beautiful women are the attackers.

These images, and the series on the whole, showcase the social and politically themed commentary running through many of Shields’ photographs. After the London riots, the women spraying the helpless officers in the eyes makes you think about how the situation might be perceived if the roles were reversed; while still using some sexy women. I have to say that the use of women who look suggestive and often provocative, are not used as subjects simply because they’re considered beautiful by the media. If you had beautiful friends who were willing to be photographed doing ridiculous and wonderful things, wouldn’t you take advantage of it too?!

The latest collection on Shields’ website is titled ‘Chromatic’ and it’s a colour explosion. As per his usual pictures, we have half naked celebrity types including Connor Paolo and Emily Van Camp from Revenge, letting go and being ridiculous. This looks like one of the most thrilling games to have been a part of; I imagine it to be like paintball without the pain of bruises.

Shields’ cast of playmates (not like the bunnies) are photographed during clashing bursts of colour as they attack one another with bold fluorescent yellow, pink, red and blue paint. Eventually, once covered completely in a blend of colours, we get close ups of their pasted faces where the whites of their eyes seem to disappear till you find them again and they form a stark contrast.

The blue/green Chromatic photograph is by far one of my favourites because the black on blue is so striking. The pose of the figure on the left shows him still reeling from being struck, arms spread out as high velocity powder explodes around his body. A pink hand in the mist is all that can be seen of the torso area. I like the figure on the right who appears to have ducked the fistful of powder or he could in fact be a stealth attacker himself.

Tyler Shields captures moments I wish I had.

Another great image and my current iPad background, is the ‘Connor Paolo and Adelaide Kane Kiss’ photograph, because of the framing of yellow that encapsulates two people who are calmly (I imagine) kissing in the middle of the (play) fight. Connor has blue powder on his face and some red on his body making him the main focus of the image, whilst Kane is covered in yellow, which gives her an ethereal quality as though she’s emerging from the powder cloud.

I could talk about each and every one of Shields’ photographs in detail. I get lost thinking about them, but they truly do speak for themselves. This artist/photographer/man is one to keep an eye on; he’s sure to do so many interesting and exciting things over the coming years. You just never know what to expect next.

Check out his website and see if you’re as inspired as I am. www.tylershields.com

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