This Photograph Is Turning America’s Racist History On Its Head

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This Photograph Is Turning Americas Racist History On Its Head tyler shields cameraPhotograph: Tyler Shields

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.’

This Photograph Is Turning Americas Racist History On Its Head NTllYWFkNWQ0NiMvc2xZOUtneXVUSWRBcnc0OHF5Y2NvV213MUljPS8xMHgzODI6NDY1N3gzMTE4LzkwMHg1MzAvZmlsdGVyczpxdWFsaXR5KDcwKS9odHRwOi8vczMuYW1hem9uYXdzLmNvbS9wb2xpY3ltaWMtaW1hZ2VzL29mdHlsdHp1bGhyNXl4NTyler Shields

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…

Domestic Violence

This Photograph Is Turning Americas Racist History On Its Head heather morris

Animal Creulty

This Photograph Is Turning Americas Racist History On Its Head mischa barton

Indulgence

This Photograph Is Turning Americas Racist History On Its Head birkin alligator tyler shields3

Check out all of Tyer’s work, here.


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