In the first solo exhibition to take place at the newly opened gallery, Tyler Shields ‘Decadence’ puts Hollywood’s fresh faces in the role of Marie Antoinette and her court.
The champagne drinking, cake eating and thigh flashing models recreate scenes that may have gone on behind closed palace doors, as imagined by Tyler. The intentional blur to the images contributes to the hedonistic vibe, as though you’re peering at them through a keyhole after a few too many glasses of champagne. “I wanted them to have the feel of paintings,” explained Tyler on recreating with a camera what never made it into classical art.
Having come across an image of Marie Antoinette as a child and continuing his fascination with her as an on-going figure in pop culture, the temptation to create images like this was irresistible for Tyler.
The photographer has made a name for himself photographing A-listers such as Micha Barton, Emma Roberts, Demi Lovato and, most famously, Lindsay Lohan, who showed up to support the photographer at the private view, but for this venture he has focussed on the up-and-coming names in showbiz. The ‘courtiers’ in the image are actresses Ana Mulvoy-Ten, Holland Roden, Isabelle Fuhrman, Lydia Hearst, Jaime King, Tallulah Willis, Christa B Allen, Emily Lind, Shoshana Bush, Spencer Locke, Mani Yarosh, Faith Picozzi, Courtney Halverson and Natalie Lind, model Madison Paige, TV presenter Poppy Jamie, actors Logan Huffman and Connor Paolo and fellow photographers Lili Peper and Filip Milenkovic.
Lydia Hearst said on her Instagram account, “To be photographed by @thetylershields is like being immortalised in a painting where the camera is his paintbrush and the world his canvas.”
In his research for the shoot, Tyler discovered that Marie Antoinette married the heir to the throne of France at only 14 and, given that she is also considered one of the earliest examples of a tabloid gossip material, Tyler said that the ‘young Hollywood’ crowd seemed perfect to place in the shoot.
The series was shot on a 55-year-old 8 x 10 camera and a Hasselblad Camera in California.
‘Decadence’, in collaboration with Imitate Modern, is open now until 24 February at Maddox Gallery, 9 Maddox Street, London W1S 2QE. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am-6pm.