..."a glance at his portfolio by anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of photography would reveal that a high number of his images look an awful lot like those of other photographers." Vice
He might be the photographic equivalent of the Fat Jew.
Tyler Shields is a very successful man. Often referred to as "Hollywood's favorite photographer," a 2012 GQ profile of Shields claimed that "while big-shot Hollywood producers once demanded a trophy Banksy canvas to be hanging above their faux-Spanish fireplaces, now all they want is one of Shields' gloriously twisted photographs." According to a rep for Guy Hepner, a gallery that sells Shields's work, his photographs sell for between $5,000 and $15,000. Shields himself has claimed that his work sells for as much as $175,000. He's shot a host of celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan, Aaron Paul, and Demi Lovato, and his work has been exhibited in galleries around the world.
This level of success is surprising, given that a glance at his portfolio by anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of photography would reveal that a high number of his images look an awful lot like those of other photographers. And not obscure photographers, either. Many of his shots bear striking resemblances to the work of some of the most famous photographers of all time. His portfolio is like Julie and Julia but with The Photography Book.
And it's not just individual images. Tyler's series of models falling from the sky came several years after Ryan McGinley made this one of his visual trademarks; his series of retro Americana shot against bright blue skies came at least five years after that became the signature style of Alex Prager; his photos of lips are incredibly similar to shots by Rankin and Marilyn Minter.
Sure, this could be passed off as "creative inspiration," a la Richard Prince or Quentin Tarantino, but, as far as I can tell, Shields has never acknowledged that his photography is influenced by the work of others. In fact, in an interview a few years back, when he was asked what inspires him, Shields replied: "I just love to show people the way I see the world. It's important for me to explore the things that I see and create inspiration from the world around me. I don't look to other artists, just the world." In a different interview, Shields was asked if Terry Richardson is an inspiration, and answered: "To be honest I don't look at other peoples work I only know who Terry is because people have asked me if I like his work." [sic]. Read More