Born: Simsbury, U.S., 1963
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 released 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 Monnalise 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 Rudolfinum Gallerie in Prague.
LaChapelle is a surrealiste photographer mainly inspired by art history and street culture, he today lives in the Hawaiian jungle and is still very active around the world.
By 2011, LaChapelle had successful exhibitions at prestigious venues such as the Lever House in New York, the Museo Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico, the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul, and Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. His captivating works continued to be showcased in renowned institutions worldwide, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Fotografiska Museet in Sweden, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
In 2014, LaChapelle’s series ‘Land Scape’ was exhibited in major cities like New York, Vienna, London, and Paris. He continued to hold shows at various locations, including Vienna, Austria, Lima, Peru, Rome, Italy, and Santiago, Chile. In 2016, his work was displayed at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the DSC Gallery in the Czech Republic, several venues in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Edward Hopper House in New York. In 2018, LaChapelle showcased ten of his series in a comprehensive exhibition titled “Good News For Modern Man” at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.
LaChapelle draws inspiration from a diverse array of artists. He holds admiration for Baroque painters like Andrea Pozzo and Caravaggio. His work has been influenced by iconic figures such as Salvador Dalí, Jeff Koons, Michelangelo, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol. Richard Avedon compared LaChapelle’s surreal images to those of Magritte, while Helmut Newton praised his bright, funny, and original approach to photography. LaChapelle, who is Catholic, often incorporates religious symbolism into his art
David LaChapelle Biography