Decadence: Shooting the wickedly indulgent court of Marie Antoinette
In his latest series Decadence, American photographer and visual artist Tyler Shields staged wicked scenes reimagined in the court of Marie Antoinette, shooting mainly with a 55-year-old 8x10 camera and a Hasselblad.
A cast of young Hollywood actors and models take centre stage in this sumptuous new body of work, with Shields in playful form as he invites his new muses to recreate the decadence and self-indulgence at the heart of Versailles during the 1600s.
“After their marriage, Louis XVI entrusted Marie with the task of entertaining the court,” Shields writes. “Decadence is set in Tuileries Palace in 1667 and The Palace of Versailles 1672. I wanted to give my version of an inside look into what I imagine it would be like if you were able to take a photograph of The Court of The Palace of Versailles and Tuileries Palace an intimate look inside one of the most fascinating times in history."
Themes of sex, death, flesh, obsession, nightmare and fantasy are frequent in Shields' work, used to explore the peculiarity of the human condition. Widely known for his controversial photographs of a blood-stained Lindsay Lohan, Shields went on to shoot equally contentious shots of Mischa Barton fondling raw meat. Shields has worked with a roster of ranking members of Hollywood people including Emma Roberts, Aaron Paul, Zachary Quinto, Demi Lovato, Juno Temple, Shiloh Fernandez and Lydia Hearst.
Shields collaborates with his subjects to produce bold, hard-hitting work which has seen him graduate from bad-boy photographer to artist, filmmaker and cultural commentator. He literally captures a new type of American life while exploring the fictional nature of the historical and the classic.
Decadence is presented in collaboration with Imitate Modern and opens at Maddox Gallery in London's Mayfair from 4th February – 24th February 2016. Discover more at Maddoxgallery.co.uk. Make sure you watch the 'behind the scenes' video below to hear from the man himself.