"Of all the photographers inventing surreal images, it is Mr. LaChapelle who has the potential to be the genre's Magritte."
--Richard Avedon, The New York Times
Helmut is not very impressed by current photography. "A lot of nudity is just gratuitous. But someone who makes me laugh is David LaChapelle. I think he's very bright, very funny and good."
--Helmut Newton, The New York Times
David LaChapelle was born in Connecticut in 1963. He trained as a fine artist at North Caroline School of the Arts before moving to New York. Upon his arrival LaChapelle enrolled at both the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts. Not yet out of High School, he was offered his first professional job by Andy Warhol to shoot for Interview Magazine.
LaChapelle's images, both bizarre and gorgeous, have forged a singular style that is unique, original and perfectly unmistakable. He has photographed personalities as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Amanda Lepore, Eminem, Philip Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Pamela Anderson, Li'l Kim, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Taylor, David Beckham, Paris Hilton, Jeff Koons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, and Britney Spears, to name just a few. Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for the most prestigious international publications and has been the subject of exhibitions in both commercial galleries and leading public institutions worldwide.
Recently ranked among the Top Ten Most Important People in Photography in the World by American Photo, LaChapelle has continued to garner numerous awards. His photography has been showcased in numerous galleries and museums, including Palazzo Reale in Milan, Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, Seoul Arts Center- Hangaram Design Museum, Lever House; and at the Barbican Museum in London, to this day the most attended show in the museum's history. Permanent acquisitions at the national Portrait Museum in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper Portrait Gallery in Munich. Most recently a retrospective at Fotografiska Museet in Sweden, was the largest solo artist show the museum had ever exhibited. In 2013, his work can be viewed at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki in Warsaw and next year at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Most recently a retrospective at Fotografiska Museet in Sweden was the largest solo artist show the museum had ever exhibited. In 2013, his work can be viewed at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Zacheta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki in Warsaw and next year at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
His uncompromising dedication to originality is legend in the competitive and harsh-judging worlds of fashion, film, advertising and contemporary art. His striking images have appeared on and in between covers of magazines such as Italian Vogue, French Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Rolling Stone and i-D.
In recent years LaChapelle has expanded his work to include music videos, live theatrical events and documentary film-making. His directing credits include music videos for artists such as Christina Aguilera, Moby, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, The Vines and No Doubt. "It's My Life" with Gwen Stefani won the award for best pop video at the MTV Music Video Awards and LaChapelle himself garnered the MPVA's Director of the Year award in 2004. His stage work includes Elton John's The Red Piano, the Caesar's Palace spectacular he designed and directed, and which was the top-selling show in Las Vegas for 2004. His burgeoning interest in film saw him 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 in the US and internationally in the Summer of 2005 to huge critical acclaim, and was chosen to open the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
LaChapelle's work continues to be inspired by everything from art history to street culture, creating both a record and mirror of all facets of popular culture today. He is quite simply the only photographic artist currently working in the world today whose work has transcended the fashion and celebrity magazine context it was made for, and has been enshrined by the notoriously discerning and fickle contemporary art intelligentsia.
Galerie Alex Daniels, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Jablonka Galerie, Berlin, Germany
Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY
Maruani & Noirhomme, Brussels, Belgium
Robilant + Voena, London, UK
Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, France