David LaChapelle was born in March 1963 in Connecticut, USA. He developed an interest for photography and very feminine women at a very young age. One of his first pictures featured his mother Elga LaChapelle in a bikini, sipping on a glass of Martini on a terrace in Puerto Rico. He attended the North Carolina School of the Arts before graduating and entering the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
His career really began in the late 1980s when we started showing his artwork to galleries in New York. It’s Andy Warhol who first gave him a job as a photographer in his magazine Interview. It didn’t take long for the aspiring photographer to start working with high profile magazines, shooting the covers and pages of the French and Italian editions of Vogue Magazine, Vanity Fair, i-D, Rolling Stone, and GQ.
Amongst many of his models can be found personalities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Tupac Shakur, Amanda Lepore, Jeff Koons, Eminem, Philip Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Pamela Anderson, Lil’ Kim, Uma Thurman, David Beckham, Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, and Britney Spears.
He directed music videos for Christina Aguilera, Moby, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, The Vines and No Doubt. In 2004 he worked on stage work designing and directing Elton John’s “The Red Piano and the Caesar’s Palace Spectacular”.
His first short documentary “Krumped” won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. His second one “Rize” was realeased internationally in the Summer of 2005 and opened the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
In 2006 he decided to reduce his work with brands to focus on fine art photography.
In 2011 he attacked Rihanna for her music video “S&M” for its resemblance with his work.
His work has been exhibited in many different places and countries, amongst which, at the Barbican Museum in London, at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, at the Museo del Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico, at the Musee de La Monnaie in Paris, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan and at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. In 2011, he worked on a major exhibition of new work at The Lever House in New York and on retrospectives at the Museo Arte Contemporáneo in Puerto Rico, at the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul and at the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague.
LaChapelle is a surealiste photographer mainly inspired by art history and street culture, he today lives in the Hawaiian jungle and is still very active around the world.