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 Tyler Shields, Pepper spray
Police Brutality Inspires New Work By Tyler Shields - ArtLyst Article image

Police Brutality Inspires New Work By Tyler Shields

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Tyler Shields has created a new set of photographs responding to images of police violence

Celebrity photographer Tyler Shields has taken inspiration from the the pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis and the subsequent meme phenomenon, to create a new series of images. These new photographs depict blonde models spraying London riot police in the face, while a crew of frenzied paparazzi snap away at the action.

‘This was just about as crazy as it looks and yes, we used real pepper spray which is no joke. Trust me, you do not want to be sprayed in the face!’, the photographer explained. ‘It's easy to be the bully but it's not so fun when you’re the one being bullied’, he added - ‘Stand up and fight for what you believe in[;] a dream can only die if you let it’

This may seem like an odd move from Hollywood photographer, but then he has always courted controversy. Shields, who shot to fame after posting his photographs on MySpace, often creates gory images, with his models spattered in blood. Perhaps most famously, he collected the blood of 20 celebrities to make a piece of art for his Life Is Not a Fairytale exhibit in Los Angeles.

In 2010, Shields provocatively photographed actress Lindsay Lohan in studio portraits brandishing a gun, and was also criticised for his photoshoot with Glee star Heather Morris. It was argued that depicting her with a bruised eye made light of abusive treatment of women, and Shields was even later compelled to apologise after receiving death threats, saying ‘if you are anti-domestic abuse spread the word about it. Threatening to kill me is not going to help anything.’ Furthermore, in response to the controversy, Shields offered three photos from the shoot for auction and donated the proceeds to a domestic violence charity.

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