David LaChapelle is known internationally for his exceptional talent in combining a unique hyper-realistic aesthetic with profound social messages.
LaChapelle’s photography career began in the 1980’s when he began showing his artwork in New York City galleries. His work caught the eye of Andy Warhol, who offered him his first job as a photographer at Interview Magazine. His photographs of celebrities in Interview garnered positive attention, and before long he was shooting for a variety of top editorial publications and creating some of the most memorable advertising campaigns of his generation.
LaChapelle’s striking images have graced the covers and pages of Italian Vogue, French Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Rolling Stone and i-D, and he has photographed some of the most recognizable faces on the planet, including Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Eminem, Andy Warhol, Philip Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Pamela Anderson, Lil’ Kim, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Taylor, David Beckham, Jeff Koons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, Britney Spears, Amanda Lepore, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, and Angelina Jolie, to name a few. After establishing himself as a fixture in contemporary photography, LaChapelle decided to branch out and direct music videos, live theatrical events, and documentary films. His directing credits include music videos for artists such as Christina Aguilera, Moby, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, and No Doubt. His stage work includes Elton John’s The Red Piano and the Caesar’s Palace spectacular he designed and directed in 2004. His burgeoning interest in film led him to make the short documentary Krumped, an award-winner at Sundance from which he developed RIZE, the feature film acquired for worldwide distribution by Lion’s Gate Films. The film was released theatrically in the US and in 17 different countries in the summer of 2005 to huge critical acclaim, and was chosen to open the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
In 2006, LaChapelle decided to minimize his participation in commercial photography, and return to his roots by focusing on fine art photography. Since then, he has been the subject of exhibitions in both commercial galleries and leading public institutions around the world. He has had record breaking solo museum exhibitions at the Barbican Museum, London, Palazzo Reale, Milan, Museo del Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City, the Musee de La Monnaie, Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2011, he had a major exhibition of new work at The Lever House, New York and retrospectives at the Museo Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul, Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague, Fotografiska Museet in Stolkholm, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, in which he was awarded artist of the year. In 2014, LaChapelle exhibited his new series, “Land Scape” in New York, Vienna, London and Paris.
Other selected museum exhibitions include: the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Museum in Krakow, the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, the Lucca Center of Contemporary Art Museum in Italy, the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, and the Kunsthaus Wien in Vienna.
Over the course of his 30+ year career, LaChapelle continues to be inspired by everything from art history to street culture, from the metaphysical to immortality, projecting an image of twenty-first century pop culture through his work that is both loving and critical. Always aware of larger social implications, LaChapelle’s work transcends the material world. He is quite simply the only photographic artist working today who has been able to successfully maintain a profound impact in the realm of celebrity photography as well as the notoriously discerning contemporary art intelligentsia.