Tyler Shields: The Dirty Side of Glamour
The Dirty Side of Glamour is one of Tyler Shield’s most well-known and controversial collections to date. It features models and celebrities engaging in vulgar acts of indulgence. From setting an $100,000 Birkin bag on fire to blood-soaked acts, the series captures a sickening duality of excess and depravity. The Dirty Side of Glamour was made into a photography book in 2013. Today, Shields reflects on the collection and the mixed reactions it invoked. Now with more experience, better equipment, and a less shockable audience, Shields returns to “the series that changed the game” and continues the collection.
Shields recalls, “In the early days, I would tell people I wanted to take a photo that their kids would think was cool. Now I don’t have to say much because people know what they are getting into with my shoots.” The Dirty Side of Glamour includes celebrities like Emma Roberts, Mischa Barton, Evan Peters, and then-girlfriend, Francesca Eastwood. While the series is star-studded, Shields insists, “It’s more about talent than celebrity.” The models are uninhibited and often semi-naked. The fact that the audience can recognize some of the famous faces adds to the illusion of seeing behind Hollywood’s closed doors. The celebrities who do participate get the unique experience of being photographed in positions that would have the potential to be career-ending in any other context.
Materialism is a central theme in the series. Aside from the notorious Birkin bag, the series features flowing liquor bottles, a giant Hershey bar, and even a Backstreet Boy in a pair of Louboutins. Household items and coveted accessories are defiled as a reflection of how humanity is sacrificed in order to obtain them. The products retain their desirability, speaking to the ingrained loyalty of a consumer mindset, as well as the talent Shield has to paint ugliness in an artistic light.
Shields refers to being a photographer as one of the hardest professions because it is “all dependent on your brain being able to create over and over again.” In 2020, he did just that and released several new prints for The Dirty Side of Glamour series. Picking up where he left off, photographs such as Ruby Slippers Night Out and Dorothy in the Kitchen echo the “Life is Not a Fairytale” print from 2012. Shields also takes his models beyond the set to abandoned highways as in Naked Hitchhiking and the iconic Chateau Mormont in Chateau. In one of his posts, Shields speaks on a unique ability to see a photograph before it’s taken, writing “when I look at most people or places, I can see a hundred images in the blink of an eye…” Whether it’s expanding on past projects or seeing the potential for new ones, Shields has the passion and aptitude to keep delivering innovative shots.