Birkingate, Day Two: Tyler Shields Defends Himself

ArtInfo tracked down Tyler Shields, the photographer who shot Francesca Eastwood destroying her $100,000 Birkin bag, and asked him if he thought the photo shoot was insensitive to those in financial need. His defense, basically, was “then be mad at anybody who ever spends any money anywhere.” Here’s what he said:

“I think if people are [upset] because I spent money on a photo shoot, then they should be upset about every single photo shoot that takes place ever. A $100,000 photo shoot, actually — Paris Hilton spent $200,000 on her album cover. The catering budget for the movie John Carter was $5 million. It takes money to make art. People spend money to make their work. If I was operating a McDonald’s, would people be upset because I bought inventory? How many people buy sports cars? How many people buy watches? What if I bought a $100,000 car and I crashed it? I’m not taking anything away from anybody else. That’s the thing, somebody wrote me an email, and she was very upset, and she was like, ‘How could you do this? You should have given that money to me.’ I was very poor just like six years ago, I had $11 and nobody gave me any money. Nobody just handed me anything. I had to fight for it. I had to work to get what I have. That’s the thing about the country that we live in. You can dream anything you want, and if you’re willing to work hard enough, you can get it. I support a lot of people. I help a lot of charities. I do a lot of things and when people want to attack me like that, it’s laughable.”

But here’s where it get’s interesting. At the end of the interview, editor Ann Binlot suggests that Shields donate the $100,000 that the Birkin bag cost to charity. Shields is game for it, saying, “The Birkin photos are for sale. If somebody were to buy — all right, let’s do this. If somebody wants to buy one of the Birkin photos, I will donate $100,000 — not to a charity — but to a family. I will give one family in need $100,000 cash, tax-free.” If only someone were stupid enough to buy one of those pictures. (via New York; pictured: Tyler and Francesca)