Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"Historical Fiction"

"No matter what age you are and no matter where you were, tragic moments in history such as 9/11, JFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr. impact us. Other moments may influence us in a different way and can have a lasting effect, like first time you travel in an airplane, are inspired by art, see a magic trick, or fall in love. With Historical Fiction, I have tried to create a narrative of history frozen in time, as if each image were part of a book where the first and last 100 pages have been torn out, and the story is for you to decipher. What happened before and what happened after is only up to the imagination of the viewer, and it's that viewer that can envision themselves in many of these moments."
Tyler Shields

In his series "Historic Fiction", Tyler Shields captures moments every generation in the U.S. remembers, e.g. the moment Marilyn Monroe died, Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy were killed. One image shows "typical" white suburban housewives sitting under hair dryers reading about Marilyn Monroe's death "as shock and horror fills their faces". Another image shows black women sitting under hair dryers reading about Martin Luther King's death looking "more than stunned as tears stream down their faces" (via).

“I’ve always loved the idea of seeing the opposite. Cops who are beating people up or white people who are hanging black people - what would they think if it was the other way around? What would the KKK say if this happened to them? It would potentially be the most famous photo of that entire generation.”
Tyler Shields

“These type of images speaks from the 20s to now. This could literally be yesterday in Baltimore or Georgia in 1965. And there’s just something so powerful about using the American flag as a weapon.”
Tyler Shields

Shields recreated Stanley Forman's iconic "The Soiling of Old Glory" replacing the white teenager who attempted to assault a black civil rights activist with a black man attacking a white policeman (held by another black man) with the US-American flag.

"Right now we are going through a real racial issue in our country. And, to me, these things that happend in the 20s and 30s, they're just as poignant today as they were back then."
Tyler Shields
"A Black Man Hangs a White Supremacist" is a controversial, provocative and shocking photography "even by today's standards". While around 4.000 black were lynched in the South between 1877 and 1950, there is not one documented case of anyone hanging a Klansman. Shields wanted to see the viewer's emotional reaction to the role reversal (via).

“It has been fascinating to watch Tyler Shields’ photography evolve and mature. His ‘Lynching’ and ‘American Flag’ are powerful pieces, recalling the civil unrest of the period, but also forcing us to ponder the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressors and how things might have been different.”
Bruce Halpryn
photographs via and via and via and via and via and via