Beautiful Decay

Chadwick Tyler gets dirty inside New York’s Honey Space.

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A photoshoot with Chadwick Tyler is, to say the least, an intimate affair. His ethereal photographs capture high fashion models not as perfect specimens of the human form, but as imperfect subjects caught in the gaze of their own self-discovery. But there lies the beauty of his work, which has made him a favorite among designers such as Alexander Wang.

It took five different shoots over the course of seven months for the New York City-based fashion photographer to compile the body of his first solo gallery exhibition. Like most of his other work, “Tiberius,” which will be on display at the Honey Space in New York City beginning February 10th, centers on the idea of the living model. “They are my inspiration,” he says. Fifty-two of them – including Karlie Kloss, Maggie Rizer and Iekeliene Stange – took to the porch of a four-story building in Chelsea to be photographed for the black and white series.

The set was built in a small outdoor space on the porch of a four-story building in Chelsea. The only source of light came from above the models’ heads. “A mix of ambient and a single fluorescent light were used for this,” Tyler says. “The space was never touched after it was set up. So, as the elements took their course, the set reinvented itself.”

Dazed Digital: Who is Chadwick Tyler?
Chadwick Tyler: I looked on Wikipedia and what I can tell you is that Chadwick Tyler is not listed.

DD: Describe your childhood. Where did you grow up?
CT: My childhood was very storybook Americana. I grew up in a small town called Valrico, about 30 miles outside of Tampa. Mostly orange groves and chain restaurants and, I think, three Wal-Marts within five miles of each other. I look back on my past and I think that is why I am a most comfortable shooting girls in working men’s clothes.

DD: How did you get introduced to fashion photography?
CT: I did not pick up a camera until about four years ago. I was not one that was always taking pictures. I don’t remember the first thing I shot, but I can tell you that I have shot more tractors commercially than you can imagine. You have to go somewhere after tractors. I got into fashion photography very randomly. I picked up a fashion magazine because I liked the design on the cover. I then started picking up more and more. I remember being fascinated with one model in particular - Maggie Rizer. I knew nothing about fashion or models, but I remembered I would always gravitate to images of her. Random things have happened since then and Maggie and I are now dear friends.

DD: What makes a woman fascinating?
CT: There are a lot of things that make a woman beautiful to me. A woman that is confident enough to be comfortable not being comfortable. It is hard for me to put my finger on it, but there are these moments – not always while working, but more often then not – when a woman finds a piece of herself that she didn’t know she had. Good or bad, that exploration to me is beautiful.

DD: Where does this obsession with dirt come from?
CT: Dirt is a part of everything that is beautiful and everything that is ugly in life. It is a broad range, but past that, I just like it. Nuances inspire me.

Tiberius” will be on display at the Honey Space beginning February 10th through March 12th.

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