David LaChapelle born 11 March 1963
David LaChapelle is a photographer and director who works in the fields of fashion, advertising, and fine art photography, and is noted for his surreal and often humorous style.
LaChapelle attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His first photograph was of his single mother, Helga LaChapelle, on a family vacation in Puerto Rico. She wore a bikini and held a martini glass on a balcony. From then on he was obsessed with photography.
His first professional job as a photographer was offered by Andy Warhol for Interview magazine. LaChapelle has four published books of his photographs, Heaven to Hell and Artists and Prostitutes (2006), LaChapelle Land (1996) and Hotel LaChapelle (1999 featuring his vivid and sometimes bizarre portraits.
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.
LaChapelle's film Rize, a documentary on the krumping style of dance that invaded South Central Los Angeles, premiered at Sundance in 2005 and was released theatrically that summer.
LaChappelle was the original director of Madonna's video to 2005 hit Hung Up but the project fell apart due to himself and Madonna having creative differences.
He has directed advertisements for major stores. In 2006 he directed 'Romeo and Juliet', a 5 minute long commercial for H&M's new denim brand and 'Tis the Season to be Gorgeous', a humorous Christmas commercial for UK retailer Boots showing very glamourous self-indulgent women doing relatively mundane Christmas tasks. Also in the UK, he directed the surreal Lost trailers for Channel 4, show the cast dancing in 1920s costume amongst the burning wreckage on the beach.
His directing work includes music videos for many artists including: The Dandy Warhols, Robbie Williams, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, Kelis, Moby, Christina Aguilera, Elton John and Britney Spears.
In 2006 LaChapelle was presented with the GLAAD Vito Russo Award for outstanding contributions toward eliminating homophobia
David LaChapelle Official Website
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