As part of his latest project, ‘Historical Fiction’ photographer Tyler Shields captured the provocative photo of a naked black man hanging a white Klansman from a tree. The image is so controversial that his family, friends and fellow photographers have said it was ‘too much’ and urged him not to release it.
In the past, Shields has gained notoriety for producing controversial imagery that has provided commentary on many political and civil topics such as animal cruelty and domestic violence. Even so, this latest piece is the most controversial yet.
Speaking to MIC, Shields explained:
I have a photographer friend who looked at the image and freaked out: ‘You can’t put this out there. It’s too crazy. It’s too much.’ They kept telling me, ‘People are going to ask you too many questions, I wouldn’t even know what to say.’
Predictably, Shields’ work has prompted a series of reactions of its own. A Klansman wrote him a letter to express his disapproval while others have criticised the imagery for being too harsh.
However, Mr Shields explained he is not fazed by the questions the photo may raise, in fact, for him that’s the whole point:
A lot of artists want an exact statement for everything they do, but I never want to not create something because I’m afraid of what it might say.
The Historical Fiction project also includes reflections of 9/11 and the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Here is some of Tyler’s previous work…
Check out all of Tyer’s work, here.