Tyler Shields: 'Actors want to act so I give them a platform to do it'

Tyler Shields has no shortage of Hollywood names wanting to pose in crazy scenarios

The photographer Tyler Shields, 30, has two young muses from Hollywood royalty: his girlfriend, Francesca Eastwood, 19, who is Clint Eastwood's daughter, and Scream 4 actress Emma Roberts, 21, who is Julia Roberts' niece. "My muses both have incredible abilities," Shields says.

His best-selling work, Glitter Mouth, of Eastwood's mouth full of glitter and diamonds, which sells at $40,000 (£25,000) a pop, has sold out. "I tried Glitter Mouth with other people but they would choke or gag. They couldn't do it. Nobody else could do it except Francesca."

Roberts stars in his Barbie series, her face poking through a red wall at Barbie decapitating Ken, and one of the works has been acquired by the Tate. "Francesca styled the Barbies and cut their hair for the shoot," Shields says. "The girls are really supportive of each other – not competitive. It comes down to what we are doing as to who I use. Emma hates the cold and Francesca hates the heat."

Other bright, stylised photographs include Eastwood chainsawing a $100,000 red crocodile Hermes Birkin bag before it is burnt for the sake of art. The duo – both up-and-coming actresses – are also photographed together holding on to an old telephone and its cord in a street in LA.

Shields, who says he is not "technically" engaged but will eventually get married to Eastwood, is appearing in Mrs Eastwood & Company, a bizarre reality-TV series now airing in the UK on E!. It follows the lives of Clint Eastwood's wife, Dina, and family with the odd sighting of Clint. "It's Hollywood," Shields says. "Before we even did this show, we were being chased by the paparazzi."

He recalls first meeting her famous dad about eight months ago – two months after he started dating his daughter. "I was in his kitchen cooking chicken at 2am in the morning when Clint walked in. So it was funny. I was like, 'Hey'. I wasn't nervous when I met him. I don't believe in nerves. They are all just people. Everybody goes to the bathroom."

It is perhaps this refusal to treat actors as special and different that has propelled Shields into the position of being asked by stars to photograph them in crazy scenarios. Mischa Barton, whom the photographer met through a mutual friend – the lead singer of the LA band Deep Valley, is photographed dancing in the street with a toy panda. In other photographs, she is covered in milk after swigging it messily from a carton while lying on a chequered kitchen floor and also licking a raw lump of meat. "We had lunch together and I was watching her eat a hamburger," Shields says. "I was like, 'I want her to eat raw meat'. That is all I could think about."

The controversial snaps of Glee's Heather Morris dressed as a housewife with an iron and sporting a black eye caused outrage. Lindsay Lohan tweeted Shields asking to be photographed; she posed as a vampire, with a knife and blood and holding a gun. "Actors want to act so I give them a platform to do it and be creative."

A gloomy Juno Temple cries blood next to Roberts – even actress Hayden Panettiere is seen licking an M16 machine gun. More artistic shots include Roberts on top of a hill in Hollywood at night, her tiny outline visible in the darkness. A photograph of Morgan Eastwood, Clint's youngest daughter, in a swimming pool hangs in the Eastwood family mansion at Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. Shields poses in his own photographs with his girlfriend as they illegally climb the gates of Buckingham Palace.

The British socialite Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone, whom Shields has photographed sweeping London streets, also agreed to pose naked on her bed at home, in a pile of £1m in £50 notes. "I said to her, 'You need to get £1m in cash'," he says. "She said: 'Ok, can you come on Friday?'"

Shields' childhood was a far cry from the glamorous world of Hollywood, where he has lived for about eight years. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida into total poverty – his father became handicapped when he was aged 15 – forcing Shields to leave home to earn a living from competing in extreme sports. He travelled all over the world rollerblading and skateboarding to support his family. After doing skate videos, at 17 he started directing music videos for the rapper Ghostface Killah. At 21 he turned to photography.

One of his first shots was of actor Ben Foster, of 3:10 to Yuma, jumping off a building. Most of his friendships with famous people happened organically – he hardly ever went out. "I think what people love about me is that I was a poor kid from Florida who had a piece-of-shit camera. The point of it is that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from; if you have a dream you can create anything you want in this world."

In his first coffee-table book The Dirty Side Of Glamour, which will be published by Harper Collins next year, his appeal as a photographer to the stars is clear. "I'm trying to show people a different side of the world."

Shields, who has released his first novel, Smartest Man, available digitally on Amazon, is directing his first movie, Final Girl. He starts filming the thriller starring Abigail Breslin in November in Vancouver, Canada. It also offers his girlfriend her first major movie role.

His new photographs out in May will be "the craziest period" he has done. "It's a new style – unlike anything you've seen. It is death-defying – actors are doing real stunts in this one." He confirms his two muses take part in this series in a big way.

Tyler Shields' works can be bought through A Gallery: www.agallery.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'