David LaChapelle


“David LaChapelle is a photographer who tends to create his own visionary world, rather than reproduce what’s visible in the world. …Performance obliterates banality, just like Drew Barrymore’s breasts can become grapefruit halves with a cherry; we hear the distant echoes of Lewis Carroll; eat me, drink me, big becomes small; the Tour Eiffel becomes a phallus (and vice versa), (meaning and lack of meaning mingle and compare.) This is the flow of the metropolis, of the great city life, fixed within its peremptory unreality substituting the known realities of camera shots.” – Renato Nicolini, catalog excerpt.

Which only goes to prove that when it comes to discussing commercial fantasy photography, one shouldn’t try to say too much.

The Lonely Doll
New York, i-D magazine 1998

“I like to see outrageousness and sexiness and things that are out of control…” -DLaC

Purple Dragon, Fireball and Madonna
New York, ROLLING STONE, 1998

“…I like to make people larger than life.” -DLaC

Free Consultation, Surgery Story
New York, DETOUR, 1997

“My pictures are about getting as far away from reality as possible. Dreams should be part of our everyday life.” -DLaC

These glossy and synthetic images show the influence of film makers like Tim Burton and Ridley Scott. Helmut Newton and Frederico Fellini lurk behind the curtain. Digital retouching is enlisted to polish the surfaces, saturate the color, and drop in details.

left:Leonardo Di Caprio: Bruce Lee
Hollywood, DETOUR, 1996
right:Leonardo Di Caprio Card Shark
Hollywood, DETOUR, 1996 (detail)

Flamboyant irony is a stance perfectly attuned to the trend-media of today: feed us the fodder we’ll feel frisky in foisting.

Meat * Las Vegas Story
Las Vegas, FLAUNT, 1998

As legend would have it, LaChapelle took his first photograph at the age of six while on vacation in Puerto Rico. The image was of his mother posing, drink in hand, on a hotel balcany, outfitted in a Frederick’s of Hollywood bra top adorned by gold belt buckles.

Later,working as a bus boy at Studio 54 in the early 80’s, LaChapelle made contact with the glamorous world that would embrace him.

If all goes according to plan, the rest will be History. Follow us on artseensoho.com to explore more.

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