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Last Chance to See – Tyler Shields ‘Submerged’ at Imitate Modern

November 5, 2013

ArtsPhotography | by Maxine Kirsty Sapsford


Tyler Shields at the private view for his Submerged exhibition at Imitate Modern
Tyler Shields at the private view for his Submerged exhibition at Imitate Modern

Tyler Shields breathtaking Submerged Exhibition closes at the Imitate Modern this Saturday. This magical series of underwater images depicts young Hollywood stars such as Lydia Hearst and Connor Paolo immersed in a romantic inky darkness.

Amphitrite, C-Type photographic print on 5mm foamboard, signed/numbered, various sizes/editions of 3, Tyler Shields
Amphitrite, C-Type photographic print on 5mm foamboard, signed/numbered, various sizes/editions of 3, Tyler Shields

Dressed in ball gowns and bow ties, Shield’s subjects twirl and embrace as if engaged in an underwater dance. The romantic lighting and the floaty dresses give the images a haunting fairytale edge that you won’t soon forget.

Shield is a photographer that likes to push boundaries, he’s famous for his controversial images of blood soaked celebrities, his Lindsay Lohan ‘prostitute’ shoot, as well as setting fire to a Birkin bag and photographing it live on TV. This time however, he wanted to test his own boundaries. “Shooting underwater is very, very hard. This series is about showing my view of an underwater world (…) my goal was to create the most insane underwater series ever done.”

Goddess, C-Type photographic print on 5mm foamboard, signed/numbered, various sizes/editions of 3, Tyler Shields
Goddess, C-Type photographic print on 5mm foamboard, signed/numbered, various sizes/editions of 3, Tyler Shields

The series was shot across several underwater locations from bathtubs to the lakes of the Grand Canyon and took six months to complete. The models and photographer had to learn to hold their breath for extended periods of time with Shield’s longest submerge actually being recorded at 4minutes 30seconds.

The images in this series are part art, part fashion shoot. Refusing to be defined they share their makers rebellious streak; Shield himself having made a career out of defying industry expectations and bringing originality and a creative breath of fresh air to the overly glamourised and slightly stuffy Hollywood status quo. “I was starting out professionally and I went to see the owner of a top American fashion magazine. When I said I wanted to take wild, crazy, sexy, violent, provocative images unlike anything anyone had done before in the over-protective world of entertainment, they said to me: ‘That will never happen.’ At that point I realised I wasn’t going to be able to go the traditional route in photography.”

Whether fashion or art these stunning images are a testament to Shield’s insatiable need to tear down the boundaries of the medium of photography and his hunger to capture the next level of beauty.

You can see Tyler Shield’s Submerged exhibition until the 9th Novermber at Imitate Modern’s urban contemporary gallery space at 27a Devonshire Street, London, W1G 6PN for more information go to – imitatemodern.com/exhibitions/tyler-shields-submerged/

 

Words Kirsty Sapsford, Arts Editor

 

Installation view, Tyler Shield's Submerged exhibition at Imitate Modern
Installation view, Tyler Shield’s Submerged exhibition at Imitate Modern