David LaChapelle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

David LaChapelle
DavidLaChapelle 2005.jpg
LaChapelle in 2005
Born(1963-03-11) March 11, 1963 (age 50)
Fairfield, Connecticut
United States
OccupationFine-art photographer
Jump to: navigation, search
David LaChapelle
DavidLaChapelle 2005.jpg
LaChapelle in 2005
Born(1963-03-11) March 11, 1963 (age 50)
Fairfield, Connecticut
United States
OccupationFine-art photographer

David LaChapelle (born March 11, 1963)[1] is an American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, film director, and artist.

He is best known for his 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."[1][2] One 1996 article called him the "Fellini of photography," a phrase that continues to be applied to him.[3][4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

David LaChapelle was born in Fairfield, Connecticut and lived there until he was nine years old. Then he moved to North Carolina with his family, where they lived until he was fourteen, before moving back to Connecticut. He has said to have loved the public schools in Connecticut and thrived in their art program as a child and teenager, although he struggled with bullying growing up.[7] He also attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and School of Visual Arts in New York City. His first photograph was of his mother, Helga LaChapelle, on a family vacation in Puerto Rico.

He was bullied in his North Carolina school for being gay.[6] When he was 15 years old, he ran away from home to become a busboy at Studio 54 in New York City.[1][8] Eventually he returned to North Carolina to enroll in the North Carolina School of Arts.[1] He underwent basic training in the United States Marine Corps and was married to a woman for a brief time.[1] In the 1980s he moved back to New York where he earned money to buy photography equipment through prostitution.[1][9]

Photographic career[edit]

Early fine-art photography[edit]

LaChapelle was affiliated in the 1980s with 303 Gallery which also exhibited artists such as Doug Aitken and Karen Kilimnik; however, the gallery terminated its relationship with LaChapelle.[10] After a poorly-attended show in 1991, he decided to stop exhibiting his artistic photography.[5]

Commercial photography[edit]

When LaChapelle was 17 years old, he met Andy Warhol, who offered him his first job as a photographer at Interview magazine.[6][11] Warhol reportedly told LaChapelle "Do whatever you want. Just make sure everybody looks good."[12] His photographs of celebrities in Interview garnered positive attention, and before long he was shooting for a variety of top editorial publications. LaChapelle's friends during this period included Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.[6]

LaChapelle’s images subsequently appeared on the covers and pages of magazines such as Details, GQ, i-D, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Face, Vanity Fair, Vogue Italia, and Vogue Paris.[4][8][13][14][15][16]

His commercial 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."[8][17][18] His second book, Hotel LaChapelle (1999), was described as a "garish, sexy, enchanting trip."[19] In the course of promoting Heaven To Hell (2006), LaChapelle ran a contest on MySpace whose prize was a photo shoot with him; the winner, Molly Gottschalk, became his assistant.[20][21] LaChapelle, Artists and Prostitutes (2006), a limited-edition, signed, numbered book 19.7 inches (50 cm) high and 13.6 inches (35 cm) wide, contains 688 pages of photographs taken between 1985 and 2005.[18] Artists and Prostitutes was published by Taschen and includes a photograph of the publisher Benedikt Taschen in a sadomasochism scene.[12]

Although successful commercially, LaChapelle's work has been criticized as "style over substance" and as misogynistic.[5]

In 1995 David LaChapelle shot the famous ‘kissing sailors’ advertisement for Diesel. It was staged at the peace celebration of World War II and became one of the first public advertisements showing a homosexual couple kissing.[22] Much of its controversy was due it being published at height of the Don't ask, Don't tell debates in USA, which had led to the U.S. Government to bar openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service. In a long article published by Frieze in 1996, the advertisement was credited for its “overarching tone of heavy-handed humor and sarcasm”.[22] In September 2011 when the Don't ask, Don't tell law was finally removed by President Barack Obama, Renzo Rosso, the founder and president of Diesel who originally had approved and pushed for the advertisement, said “16 years ago people wouldn't stop complaining about this ad. Now it’s (open bi- and homosexuality in the U.S. Military) finally accepted legally.”[23]

Return to fine-art photography[edit]

The photograph "Deluge" at the "Thus Spoke LaChapelle" ("Tak Pravil LaChapelle") exhibition, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, 2011

Themes in his art photography, which he has developed in his Maui retreat, include salvation, redemption, paradise, and consumerism.[6][9][16][24][25] Nevertheless, some art critics have characterized his recent work as "stale," "simple-minded," and "gimmicky."[10] His fine art work frequently features models/muses: Amanda Lepore and Katie Johnson.

Artistic influences[edit]

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.[24] Critics have noted that LaChapelle's work has been influenced by Salvador Dalí, Jeff Koons, Michelangelo, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.[5]

Other media[edit]

LaChapelle directed singer Elton John's show, The Red Piano at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace, which premiered in 2004. The show features extensive use of video technology on an LED screen backing the show that, when built, was promoted as the largest and brightest of all time. Several of John's songs during the performance are accompanied by short films by LaChapelle.

His interest in film led him to make the 2004 short documentary Krumped, an award-winner at the Sundance Film Festival. It concerned the Los Angeles dance style krumping. After Krumped he self-financed and developed RIZE (2005).[10]


In 1997, actress Mira Sorvino complained about LaChapelle's digitally altering her photograph to make her look like Joan Crawford.[26][27] The 2005 photograph “The House at the End of the World,” showing a woman and a baby in front of a house that appears to have been destroyed by a hurricane, was criticized because it was published in Vogue Italia about the time of Hurricane Katrina; LaChapelle pointed out that he took the picture well before the hurricane occurred.[6][28] A 2010 paper in a philosophy journal criticized Rize for appropriation of African American culture and for not "politiciz[ing] the social and economic structures responsible for the systemic oppression facing his documentary's subjects."[29]

LaChapelle in 2011

LaChapelle sued Rihanna, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Melina Matsoukas, and Black Dog Films In February 2011 for copyright infringement related to the music video for the song "S&M."[30][31] In the suit, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, LaChapelle alleged that the video infringed upon eight of his photographs by copying their "composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting."[30] In July 2011 judge Shira Scheindlin denied a motion to dismiss the copyright violation allegations.[32] The judge wrote that the video copied "protectible elements" of LaChapelle's photographs "Striped Face," "Latex," and "Noisy Fame," and that the defendants' claim of fair use of LaChapelle's photographs was "misguided."[32] In October 2011 the case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.[33]

LaChapelle sued Fred Torres, his former lover, business agent, and printer, in December 2012.[34][35] LaChapelle claimed that Torres owed him $2.8 million from sales of prints and $755,000 in loans.[34][36] In turn, Torres filed a suit in March 2013 against LaChapelle for not paying $25 million in expenses and for stealing a client list worth up to $50 million.[35][36]

An owner of a gallery in Montana sued LaChapelle in March 2013 for $3 million for assaulting him in a Chelsea, Manhattan apartment in March 2012.[37]

Personal life[edit]

His father was Philip LaChapelle and his mother is Helga LaChapelle; he has a sister Sonja and a brother Philip.[38] LaChapelle credits his mother for influencing his art direction in the way she set up scenes for family photos in his youth.[8]

LaChapelle has bipolar disorder and has been in a psychiatric hospital three times.[6][9] He has cited the following reasons for his return to fine-art photography in 2006: overwork; fear of HIV/AIDS, which caused the death of a former boyfriend (although LaChapelle tested negative); and a desire to not "work for pop stars or magazines anymore" because of the stress involved.[6][10] In particular, LaChapelle cites a conflict with Madonna over the video to her song "Hung Up."[5]

Motion pictures[edit]

Selected books[edit]













Footnotes and References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Sharkey, Alix (February 4, 2006). "Maximum Exposure: David LaChapelle's hyper-real and slyly subversive portraits have made him the world's hippest photographer. Now rave reviews for his dance doc Rize have made him Hollywood's hottest director. Here, the 'Fellini of Photography' talks to Alix Sharkey about prostitution, hanging out with Warhol and being inspired by Pammy". The Observer. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ Pedro, Laila (July 20, 2010). "Who’s Bad? The Kitsch Pop Surrealism of David LaChapelle". Idiom Magazine. Tristan Media LLC. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ Sigesmund, B.J. (November 11, 1996). "Shooting Star: Sexy, campy, and slightly crazed, David LaChapelle is the Fellini of photography. His subjects seem to enjoy the circus". New York 29 (44): 56–58. 
  4. ^ a b Kutner, Janet (June 1, 2005). "Outrageous Fortune - Goss Gallery Opens with a Trove of Celebrity Shooter David LaChapelle's Outré Images". The Dallas Morning News. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Sturges, Fiona (April 23, 2010). "Out of Africa: David LaChapelle's Strange Visions of a Continent". The Independent. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Day, Elizabeth (February 18, 2012). "David LaChapelle: 'Fashion, beauty and glamour are the mark of civilisation'". The Observer. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ von Speidel, Krytian. http://bombsite.com/issues/1000/articles/5714 "David LaChapelle" BOMB Magazine retrieved July 19, 2011
  8. ^ a b c d DeCaro, Frank (November 4, 1996). "In LaChapelle Land". Newsweek 128 (19): 60–61. 
  9. ^ a b c Chamberlain, Vassi (May 5, 2010). "Is David LaChapelle the 21st century's Andy Warhol?". Evening Standard. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d Trebay, Guy (May 27, 2011). "David LaChapelle: An Unexpected Life". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ Wyma, Chloe (December 6, 2012). "25 Questions for Photographer David LaChapelle". Artinfo. Louise Blouin Media. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Nicholson, Geoff (May 2006). "Stargazing". Modern Painters: 78–83. 
  13. ^ Glueck, Grace (June 25, 1999). "Art In Review; David LaChapelle". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ Jones, Dylan (April 29, 2002). "'Does My Tum Look Fat In This?'; Life & Style: What really happened at the David Beckham fashion shoot (and who applied the baby oil?)". Evening Standard. pp. 25–26. 
  15. ^ Davies, Emily (April 21, 2005). "Dark Star of Glitz Blitz: No one quite handles flash, brash trash with the glamour of David LaChapelle". The Times. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Allsop, Laura (December 23, 2010). "Hawaii Retreat Saved My Life, Says LaChapelle". CNN. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  17. ^ Roth, Andrew (2001). The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century. New York: PPP Editions in association with Ruth Horowitz. ISBN 0967077443. 
  18. ^ a b Elbies, Jeffrey (December 16, 2008). "David LaChapelle's Weird World: A mammoth new collector's edition book puts David LaChapelle's astonishing career into perspective". Popular Photography. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  19. ^ Dixon, Glenn (December 17, 1999). ""Annie Leibovitz: Women" (review)". Washington City Paper. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  20. ^ James, Jess (April 4, 2008). "MySpace Muse: Local woman’s life changes after catching famous photographer’s eye on Web site". Star-News. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  21. ^ Diehl, Matt (January 13, 2008). "From MySpace to Dave's Place...". BlackBook. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/identity_parade/
  23. ^ http://www.facebook.com/Renzo55?ref=ts
  24. ^ a b Dannatt, Adrian (April 2009). "David LaChapelle: 'If I could choose any period to have been an artist, it would definitely be the Baroque'". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  25. ^ Tariq, Syma (February 6, 2009). "Shooting Star: David LaChapelle's Search for Redemption". The Guardian. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  26. ^ Spindler, Amy M. (June 17, 1997). "Making the Camera Lie, Digitally and Often". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  27. ^ Betts, Kate (February 2, 2003). "The Man Who Makes The Pictures Perfect". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  28. ^ Karp, Hannah (August 10, 2009). "LaChapelle, Unplugged: Surrealist photographer creates his own paradise in east Maui’s wilderness". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  29. ^ Kuehn, Kathleen M. (2010). "The Commodification of Blackness in David LaChapelle's Rize". Journal of Information Ethics 19 (2): 52–66. doi:10.3172/JIE.19.2.52. 
  30. ^ a b "Complaint, LaChapelle v. Fenty". Radar Online. American Media. February 10, 2011. pp. 1–14. Archived from the original|archiveurl= requires |url= (help) on October 12, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Rihanna Sued by Famed Fashion Photographer David LaChapelle Over 'Copycat' S&M Video". Daily Mail. February 15, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "LaChapelle v. Fenty. 812 F.Supp.2d 434 (2011)". Leagle. July 20, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  33. ^ White, Belinda (October 19, 2011). "Rihanna and David LaChapelle Settle their S&M Dispute". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b Golding, Bruce (December 27, 2012). "Famed Photographer David LaChapelle Sues Ex-Manager for $2.8M". New York Post. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  35. ^ a b Ross, Barbara (March 29, 2013). "Celebrity Photographer David LaChapelle Sued by Former Agent and Lover for $75 Million". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b Walker, David (March 29, 2013). "David LaChapelle’s Former Agent Counter Sues for $75 Million". PDN Pulse. Photo District News. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  37. ^ Risch, Conor (March 7, 2013). "David LaChapelle Sued for $3 Million by Gallerist". PDN Pulse. Photo District News. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  38. ^ "LaChapelle, Philip (obituary)". Hartford Courant. September 23, 2002. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  39. ^ Caroline Sullivan (August 19, 2005). "Just Dandy". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 

External links[edit]