Tyler Shields Makes His Photo London Debut

Presented by imitate modern
9-12 September 2021
Somerset House, London wc2

The Californian photographer makes his photo London Debut

Californian fine art photographer and filmmaker Tyler Shields will exhibit a personally selected set of eleven prints at Photo London, in collaboration with his London gallery Imitate Modern. This will be Shields’ Photo London debut and the booth will feature works from the entire breadth of the provocateur photographer’s portfolio, beginning with his Glitter Mouth shot in 2012, to his most recent images captured during the global pandemic and made possible by the unusually vacant streets of LA. Some of Shields’ best loved works will be displayed such as Under the Rain (2018), an image which Shields’ himself admitted looked even better on film than it did in real life.

“All my photographs tell a story – they are a freeze frame of just a split second yet they provide a window onto a world of fantasy, eroticism, violence, romance, you name it. For me, good art makes you think, great art makes you feel, and I hope that when anyone views my work, they’re aroused by some sort of emotion – whether that be shock, joy, love or even anger.” – Tyler Shields

Tyler Shields is best known for glossy, high production, sometimes controversial images that explore themes such as eroticism, consumerism, and fantasy. He has photographed many of Hollywood’s finest, creating images that have caused global sensations such as a gun wielding Lindsey Lohan, drenched in blood and Emma Roberts falling from a window.

This image would have never happened if we weren’t in a lockdown. The Chateau Marmont is one of the most iconic hotels in the world, and in my almost 20 years of living in Los Angeles, I’ve never seen the front or the driveway of the Chateau empty.
Because of the pandemic, the hotel was shut down, no one was there, there were no cars driving up and down. – Tyler Shields

He deliberately toys with the staged nature of portraiture, generating works that realise the impossible. His images self-consciously manipulate the tools typical of Pop Art, such as use of logos and highly staged characterisation, but add something distinctly new due to his uncompromising cinematic eye that brings Hollywood seduction to the fore.

Tyler Shields

Tyler Shields (b.1982) is a celebrated fine art photographer. He grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and became a professional in-line skater. Shortly after starting his photography career, Shields became the youngest living photographer to be in auction at Sotheby’s, countless auctions later Sotheby’s dubbed him “…the Andy Warhol of his generation.”In his ten-year career he has photographed all manner of celebrities, from Hollywood legends like Bruce Willis to tech giants like Elon Musk.   Witnessing a photo shoot with Tyler Shields behind the lens is hard to describe.

The subjects of Shields’ photographs run from planes flying just feet above their heads, hold a flaming Hermès Birkin next to their faces, and dangle steaks in front of large wild cats. Shields’ mastery of photography has allowed the seemingly impossible to manifest right in front of his lens.


With its roots in contemporary and street art, Imitate Modern prides itself on being a pioneer of the London art scene. Based in Central London, Imitate Modern cultivates talent and discovers artists and trends creating an atmosphere to produce innovative, impeccable and sometimes controversial works of art. The gallery exhibits a line-up of artists at various stages of their practice and careers.

Through rich art experiences, Imitate Modern represents experimental and exciting exhibition programs that aim to stimulate, provoke and captivate globally. Exhibitions range from internationally acclaimed solo shows to debuts of young artists but the gallery’s intentions remain the same—to help its clients build interested and enriching collections, and most of all enjoy art in the most engaging way possible.



©2021 Tyler Shields