Tyler Shields: New Heights
Tyler Shields created a name for himself by capturing a provocative sense of danger and going where few photographers have dared to go before. His most recent photoshoot is no different. Veteran models, Allie Marie Evans and Hannah Glasby, were enlisted to dangle off the side of a helicopter in true Shields fashion – nude or clad only in lingerie, while decked out with a cat mask and Birkin bag.
Shields explains, “Every year I try to do a shoot on or around my birthday that’s something fun, crazy, or expensive. I can justify it more if it’s my birthday.” To mark his 39th birthday, the photographer mobilized one of his most daring props to date. Luckily for viewers, he documented the entire process.
Shields and his crew traveled to a location only accessible by helicopter or off-road vehicle. The helicopter was flown in and framed perfectly in a clearing between two trees, set in the forefront of a pristine mountain vista. Much to Shields’ surprise, he found that he could adjust the helicopter’s placement in the sky with a mere point in any direction. While undetectable by the photographs, the models faced their own set of challenges. For Evans, the idea of potentially risking her life to hang freely from the flying helicopter almost proved too much. Glasby, while more receptive to the idea, endured the unprecedented cold to get nude shots. The trust and experience from the trio’s professional relationship is what made the shoot possible. Nick Spruck, who was on set, describes, “The funniest part about all of it was the way that Tyler was able to direct Hannah and Allie. You could tell that there’s almost a symbiotic relationship between the three of them. They just know what Tyler wants because they’ve shot with him so many times. You could tell even if it’s your first time seeing the three of them shoot together that they have experienced so much.” This mutual understanding allowed them to communicate even from a great distance and with no way of hearing his directions.
Beyond the shocking nature of the images he creates, Shields continues to amaze his audience with the sheer level of vision and dedication it takes to arrange the photograph in the first place. Glasby recalls, “I think back on every moment that I was even just a tiny bit uncomfortable in Tyler shoots and that’s not even there when I look at that photo. It’s more so just amazement over the fact that we did that.” While the shoot required a great deal of preparation, and at times, convincing, the outcome proved well worth it. Shields once again demonstrates his unique ability to orchestrate the most untamed shoots and capture the perfect moment.