Francesca Eastwood and Tyler Shields (Getty Images | Inset from tylershields.com)
How much does it cost to make a name for yourself on the D-list? About $100,204 if you're controversial fashion photographer Tyler Shields
and his reality TV girlfriend Francesca Eastwood
The couple set off a firestorm (or at least a few flamewars) of controversy over the long weekend by taking a Birkin bag worth a reported $100,000, slicing it in half with a $200 chainsaw and setting it on fire with about $4 worth of gasoline. The resulting photo shoot
was posted to Tyler's site over the weekend and video from the shoot was central to the newest episode of Mrs. Eastwood & Company
, which aired Sunday (video below left).
While TMZ's reports of death threats
are probably a little exaggerated (raise your hand if you believe an angry commenter is actually going to try to take down Clint Eastwood's daughter), infuriated netizens did indeed take to Facebook, Twitter, and Tyler's website to articulate all their rage in its various forms.
So let's categorize that rage. Some people are pissed that so much money was wasted when so many people are without food or shelter. Others are angry that such a beautiful bag was destroyed because they would very much like to own it please. A few take umbrage with the idea that this is art. But the vast majority of angry comments are some variation on Tyler and Francesca being privileged jerks who are full of themselves for thinking this stunt constitutes meaningful social dialogue. (For the record, Francesca was originally against the idea. She just wanted to keep the bag for herself.)
Tyler Shields and company started out by chainsawing the Birkin in half before setting it on fire and bringing in Francesca to blow it a kiss. (From tylershields.com)
Tyler often works with celebrities
, sometimes destroys
things for shoots, and has a knack for shooting OMG! photos
without, he claims, the use of any digital manipulation. While speaking about his latest LA gallery show, called "Mouthful," he talked to Elle
magazine about courting controversy.
"Most of those [shots] I took in my living room, which is amazing, because I can literally make world news just sitting in my living room," he said. "[Then] what happens is people go, ‘Who is this guy?’ and they look me up, and they see my work as a whole and take notice. The controversy just puts a name to the images.”
Tyler has positioned his Birkin destruction photos as being a commentary on the luxury consumer culture, and the way people overvalue a bag which is, in his words, "no different from a bag you get at the grocery store—you carry sh-t in it." So what's your take? Is it art? Vote below.
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