David LaChapelle is an American photographer, music video director and film director. He is best known for his work in fashion, photography, which often references art history and sometimes conveys social messages. His photographic style has been described as "hyper-real and slyly subversive" and as "kitsch pop surrealism". Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for international publications and has had his work exhibited in commercial galleries and institutions around the world.
At age 17, LaChapelle moved to New York City. Following his first photography show at Gallery 303, he was hired by Andy Warhol to work at Interview Magazine.
Through his mastery of color, unique composition, and imaginative narratives, LaChapelle began to expand the vernacular of photography. His staged tableau, portrait and still life works challenged devices of traditional photography and his work quickly gained international interest. By 1991, The New York Times predicted, “LaChapelle is certain to influence the work of a new generation...in the same way that Mr. Avedon pioneered so much of what is familiar today.”
In the decades since, LaChapelle has become one of the most published photographers throughout the world with an anthology of books including LaChapelle Land (1996), Hotel LaChapelle (1999), Heaven to Hell (2006), Lost & Found, and Good News (2017). Simultaneously, his work has expanded into music video, film and stage projects. His 2005 feature film, Rize was released theatrically in 17 countries. Many of his still and film works have become iconic archetypes of America in the 21st Century.
In The past 30 years, LaChapelle has exhibited internationally in galleries and museums including the National Portrait Gallery of London, Monnaie de Paris, Barbican Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Musee D’Orsay, Groninger Museum, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, and The U.S. National Portrait Gallery.
“Mr. LaChapelle is certain to influence the work of a new generation of photographers in the same way that Mr. Avedon pioneered so much of what is familiar today.
Mr. Avedon said that 'of all the photographers inventing surreal images, it was Mr. LaChapelle who has the potential to be the genre's Magritte.”
"He isn't very impressed by current photography. ‘There's a lot of pornographic pictures taken by the young today,’... He frowned. ‘A lot of the nudity is just gratuitous. But someone who makes me laugh is David LaChapelle. I think he's very bright, very funny, and good.’'
Public & Corporate Collections
Bayerische Staatsoper Portrait Gallery, Munich, Germany
Brandhorst Foundation, Munich, Germany
Daimler Art Collection, Stuttgart, Germany
Fondazione Brescia Musei, Brescia, Italy
The Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
La Monnaie de Paris, Paris, France
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, New York, NY
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Foundation, Paris, France
MOCO Museum, Barcelona, Spain
National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Pérez Art Museum, Miami, Florida
Serge Delsemme Foundation, Belgium
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
1995: "Best New Photographer of the Year" by French Photo and American Photo magazines 1996: “Photographer of the Year Award” at the VH-1 Fashion Awards “Applied Photography of the Year Award” from The International Center of Photography 1997: Best book Design 1998: Best “Cutting Edge Essay” and “Style Photography” at Life magazine’s Alfred Eisenstadt Awards for Magazine Photography 1999: Honored in the “Cover of the Year” 2000: Won "Best Video" for Moby's "Nature Blues" at the MTV Europe Music Award.
Themes in LaChapelle's art photography, which he has developed in his Maui home, include salvation, redemption, paradise, and consumerism.
It is clear that LaChapelle's moving in this, "new direction highlights his interest and understanding of both contemporary practice and art history".
LaChapelle's images "both bizarre and gorgeous have forged a singular style that is unique, original, and perfectly unmistakeable." His photographs have been collected in a number of books. LaChapelle Land (1996) was selected as one of 101 "Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century" and is "highly valued by collectors". His second book, Hotel LaChapelle (1999), was described as a "garish, sexy, enchanting trip". Heaven to Hell (2006) featured "almost twice as many images as its predecessors", and "is an explosive compilation of new work by the visionary photographer." LaChapelle, Artists and Prostitutes (2006), a limited-edition, signed, numbered book contains 688 pages of photographs taken between 1985 and 2005.
Artists and Prostitutes was published by Taschen and includes a photograph of the publisher Benedikt Taschen in a sadomasochism scene.
In the last decade, LaChapelle has returned to a focus on fine art photography and has exhibited his work in several galleries and museums. LaChapelle has had solo museum exhibitions at the Barbican Museum in London (2002), Kausthaus Wien in Vienna (2002), Palazzo Reale in Milan (2007), Museo del Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City (2009), the Musee de La Monnaie in Paris (2009), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei (2010), and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel (2010).
By 2011, LaChapelle had an exhibition at the Lever House in New York and retrospectives at the Museo Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, the Hanagaram Design Museum in Seoul, and Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. In the following years, LaChapelle's works were also exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in LA (2012) the Musée d'Orsay in Paris (2013), Fotografiska Museet in Sweden (2013) and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. (2014).
In 2014, LaChapelle exhibited his series, 'Land Scape' in New York, Vienna, London, and Paris. Other shows include OstLicht Galerie fur Fotografie in Vienna, Austria, MAC Lima in Peru, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Chile. In 2016, LaChapelle's work was shown at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, DSC Gallery in the Czech Republic, at several venues in Montevideo in Uruguay and at the Edward Hopper House in New York. In 2018, LaChapelle exhibited ten of his series in one exhibition, Good News For Modern Man, in the Groninger Museum (The Netherlands).
LaChapelle cites a number of artists who have influenced his photography. In a 2009 interview, he mentioned the Baroque painters Andrea Pozzo and Caravaggio as two of his favorites.
A critic has noted that LaChapelle's work has been influenced by Salvador Dalí, Jeff Koons, Michelangelo, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol. Richard Avedon noted that of all the photographers inventing surreal images, LaChapelle has the potential to be the genre's Magritte. Helmut Newton has also contributed to the discourse on LaChapelle, stating in a New York Times article by Cathy Horyn "He [LaChapelle] isn't very impressed by current photography. 'There's a lot of pornographic pictures taken by the young today ... A lot of the nudity is gratuitous. But someone who makes me laugh is David LaChapelle. I think he is very bright, very funny, and good’".
My Own Liz ( Red )
New York ,1997
Large Format : Editon of 3 + 3 APs
Artist’s proof 2 / 3
127 x 127 cm
119w x 151h cm
Madonna : Mythical Swans
New York, 1998
110h x 153w cm