Model Polina P with Esse Model Management photo by Todd Anthony Tyler for Prestige Indonesia Magazine
Whether he’s capturing the gracefulness in a movement or the strength in an expression, a model wandering through rolling sand dunes, lazing by pristine waters or posted in front of a twinkling city skyline, Todd Anthony Tyler has a keen aptitude for highlighting raw imagery. Known for his work in various publications, not limited to Vogue Italia, Elle China and Harper’s Bazaar China, Todd is a face to recognize in the fashion realm. Curious to delve deeper into the life of fashion icons abroad, we spoke to Todd about his strong connection to the Chinese fashion industry and his hopes for Asia’s Next Top Model. View the full feature by Candis Alicia Hickman after the jump
Q. You’ve spent a number of years working as a photographer within the Chinese fashion industry. What is it about the culture and industry that has captivated your attention?
Todd. When I modeled I traveled and worked in over 20 countries so I had a good reference point in terms of knowing what cities I enjoyed living in and what opportunities were available. When I first went to Shanghai over 10 years ago the city was really developing. I was attracted to the energy and culture of China as a whole and its rapid growth. As an artist, working in this type of environment is highly conducive to the creative process. When I am in Shanghai I feel like anything is possible, which translates into my work. I enjoy spending much of my year in a place where people are excited about the future and in general are not holding back.
Q. Todd Anthony Tyler is a well-known name within the world of art and fashion. How do you create concepts and images that resonate with the Chinese market whilst also appealing to the greater international market?
Todd. This is a very good question. The short answer is that I never set out to satisfy Asian or Western notions of what is aesthetically pleasing. My creative process is fluid and organic. We all imagine how other people live, and tapping into this imagination is fundamental to creating images that have universal appeal.
Q. A lot of diversity can be seen in the content of your work, from the models’ physical appearance to location, to set design. It begs the question: what are your definitions and/or ideals of beauty?
Todd. My idea of beauty leans more towards the unconventional. I prefer to shoot unique or exotic beauties and I tend to like my images to be more raw and filled with emotion and movement. However, I do appreciate classic beauty and commercial imagery. Often time’s people try to find commonalities or signature style in photographer or artist work. You will always see some type of raw energy and uncompromising character in my work, but I really do not like to confine myself to one style or one type of look when casting models. It certainly keeps things interesting having the ability to work with diverse subjects all around the world.
Q. We hear that you are embarking on a new project as a judge on Asia’s Next Top Model. Can you describe what processes you believe are necessary to transform the successful model into an international sensation?
Todd. Once you get pass the international standards set for the physical requirements that deem someone a professional model, the grooming really comes down to preparing the raw talent for the realities of the job and helping them understand the business of fashion. We want to challenge the girls to see their natural abilities in front of the camera and have a base line to evaluate how they evolve and improve.
Q. How do you envision that Asia’s Next Top Model will fare in the global market?
Todd. Top Model is under license in over 100 markets worldwide including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and China. For the first time, the franchise will bring together young women that encompass the rich diversity and nuances of all Pan-Asia. The show is charting new territory so people will want to tune in just to see the type of girls that were chosen to represent Pan-Asia. The show is also a great platform to expose the international fashion community to the wide variety of cultures and aesthetics that exist in Asia. Perhaps we will even break through a few stereotypes. Even though we are filming a reality show, it does not mean that there is not room to educate and expand definitions of beauty.
Q. Describe the best part of being Todd Anthony Tyler.
Catalog for fashion brand CUE photographed by Todd Anthony Tyler