David LaChapelle is an American commercial photographer, fine-art photographer, music video director, and film director. He is known internationally for combining a hyper-realistic aesthetic with profound social messages.
LaChapelle’s photography career began in the eighties when he began showing his artwork in New York City galleries. His work caught the eye of Andy Warhol, who offered him his first job as a photographer at Interview magazine. His photographs of celebrities in Interview garnered positive attention, and before long he was shooting for editorial publications and creating advertising campaigns.
His burgeoning interest in film led him to 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 theatrically in the US and in 17 different countries in the summer of 2005, and was chosen to open the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
In 2006, LaChapelle decided to return to fine art photography. Since then, he has been the subject of exhibitions in both commercial galleries and leading public institutions around the world. He has had record breaking solo museum exhibitions at the Barbican Museum, London; Palazzo Reale, Milan; Museo del Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City; Musee de La Monnaie, Paris; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2011, he had a major exhibition of new work at the Lever House, New York and retrospectives at the Museo Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul, Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague, Fotografiska Museet in Stolkholm, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, in which he was awarded artist of the year. In 2014, LaChapelle exhibited his new series, Land Scape in New York, Vienna, London and Paris.
Other selected museum exhibitions include the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Museum in Krakow, the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, the Lucca Center of Contemporary Art Museum in Italy, the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, and the Kunsthaus Wien in Vienna.