Being a photographer to the stars is not an easy task. Sometimes you find yourself in the spotlight, too. We ask photographer Tyler Shields (we featured him just recently) a few questions about work, his style, and a few things in between and boy, were we glad we did it.
Hi, Tyler! Thank you so much for doing this quick interview with us! We're curious about who Tyler Shields is when not shooting? What do you do on your down time?
My life is pretty engulfed in work and making the things I want to make so there is not a lot of down time but that's by choice. For me, I like to do whatever I want to do in life and I enjoy making things more than just about everything else. I try and sleep but most days I go to sleep around 5 am and I'm up between 8-10am so then I will shoot, go to the lab for print making or film developing. I love shooting at night. I don't drink or party or anything like that. I love the idea that a camera is an expensive paper weight if you don't use it.
Tell us about how you discovered photography. Was it always something that was innate and natural or learned?
I grew up around skate photographers but to be honest, that was the extend of my knowledge about photography were of a few southern California BMX and skate guys like Rich Cook and Jess Dyrenforth. I was around them at a young age and seeing how they did what they did but obviously what I do is very different but the great thing about those guys was they did whatever they needed to do to get the shots.
What can you say about ‘photography as an art or expression?’
To me art is art and the medium is just the tool you choose to use. A great painting, a sculpture, a photograph, if created right can tap into a nerve inside your soul and that's the point of art.
How does your professional work differ from your personal photography?
Well I don't do many jobs. 99% of my work is making art for galleries. I will do a couple of jobs a year but it's always people who get me and what I do. To be honest, I am very lucky and I have created my own personal dream - I make whatever I want how and whenever [I want it] and people collect it all around the world.
In what area of photography do you think you feel most comfortable in? Or in what element do you find yourself more at home in?
There is no area to me. If I have an idea, I will do it. Right now I am doing a new Polaroid series which I am shooting with a Mamiya RZ 67. I had never shot Polaroids before but that's the fun of it. Trying to challenge yourself and explore your work. When we did the Decadence series, it was my first time doing a series on 8x10 but again, it's all about the challenge.
What’s your favorite subject? Where do you draw inspiration?
Depends on what day it is. History.
How would you describe your style in five (5) words?
I could not do that.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a good photograph?
You can see promise in someones work. I am a big believer in finding value before there is worth. That being said, there is a weird thing with photographers where they don't like other photographers. I don't agree with that. As a photographer you see things a certain way and of course you look at the way someone else makes something and you would not see it like that but that doesnt mean you have to hate them. You have to be hard working you have to grow and you have to love it anyone who does that has my undying respect.
What’s your favorite photograph? Why?
The next one I am going to take.
What camera/film/accessory setup do you use in your professional and personal work?
Hasselblad H5, Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II, Leica M, Toyo 4x5, Kodak 8x10, Pentax 67, Hasselblad 503, Leica Monochrome...
Any photographers/artists that you follow religiously?
Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Rockwell, Hughes, Jobs...
Do you have upcoming projects? Please talk about them.
New book is coming out and just hit Amazon for pre-order but it will be in stores in December.
Last words for our readers?
See more of his work on his website.
All photos were used with the artist's permission.