David LaChapelle is a fine-art photographer who dabbled with Fashion Photography in the previous two decades and brilliantly changed the rules of the same to suit his taste, his vision.
To give a brief introduction, David LaChapelle ran away from home as a teenager to escape the life of a small town. His destination was New York, a city that celebrated the differences of people, their individualities instead of condemning them for the same. His work caught the eye of Pop Artist Andy Warhol who got him a job with the Interview Magazine, a magazine that was the centre of the World of Pop Art. And thus David LaChapelle began photographing people and celebrities and began making a name for himself. For David, the best piece of advice he has ever received was by Andy Warhol when he told him ‘to do whatever he wanted but to make people look good.
At a point of time, David realised that he was saturated with shooting for people and making them happy instead of himself and that is when his work started to get noticed. He combined his knowledge of history, of art, his fascinations with his own ideas and philosophies along with his evolution as a photographer, to come up with the kind of work which could not be replicated by others. His work was labelled as ‘Highly Hyper-real and slyly subversive.
David LaChapelle started working in a studio the size of a small apartment. And as he grew bigger, the size of the studios grew as well, however, he somewhere kept on recreating the dimensions of the the small studio he started initially. His images had influences of paintings, of legends, of his own dream and fears. He can see and define his visions in an image in a way as if he can escape reality. On receiving criticism for his pictures, he points out that as far as it is not boring, he can accept anything.
He puts in all efforts in every image he creates, without banking on the legacy of his previous work as he feels that if the current one fails people will ‘know that he sucks’ .It is not difficult to point out his constant search for a higher truth and his belief in goodness, by looking at his work.
After a successful career in photography, LaChapelle also took up directing films and music videos for stars such as Jennifer Lopez(Do it well), Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera etc.
Currently, he has consciously reduced his association with commercial photography and the world of glamour and celebrities and has returned to his roots of fine art photography, along with a huge lifestyle change of moving to the Jungles of Hawaii to work in solitude.