David LaChapelle

A Life of Visual Provocation

BY: Jes Zurell

Traditional photography has limits; it relies on the physical world to fill the frame. There are two kinds of shutter bugs in the field: those who do as tradition suggests, and those who get suggestive. David LaChapelle is the latter.

LaChapelle fueled his provocative reputation during the ‘90s and early ‘00s as one of the driving forces behind Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, playing with light, color and symbolism. Now, as one of the world’s most influential photographers, he’s holding his first major solo exhibition in the Netherlands at the Groninger Museum, entitled “Good News for Modern Man.” In it, LaChapelle introduces photographs from his latest series, “New World,” in which he aims to photograph the unphotographable in his search for paradise. The show runs from April 21 and through October 28, and features more than 70 works ranging from landscapes to fashion editorials, with equal eroticism captured in each.

Film takes on a painterly quality under LaChapelle’s manipulation of contrast and hue. His grandiose images fit together like puzzle pieces made out of more puzzle pieces, collecting more moments per frame than one dreamed possible. He manages to establish in a single photograph what many painters require an entire cathedral ceiling to portray – and his color palette is practically edible. See for yourself, below. Just remember, it’s bad form to lick your screen in public.

DavidLaChapelle, Tupac Shakur Still I Rise 1996 from Good News Part II
DavidLaChapelle, Tupac Shakur Still I Rise 1996 from Good News Part II

 

David LaChapelle, Loaves And Fishes.
David LaChapelle, Loaves And Fishes.

 

David LaChapelle, From Lost And Found
David LaChapelle, From Lost And Found.

 

David LaChapelle, In Chile
David LaChapelle, In Chile.

 

David LaChapelle, Untitled.
David LaChapelle, Untitled.

 

David LaChapelle, Super Tease.
David LaChapelle, Super Tease.

 

David Lachapelle, Good News II.
David Lachapelle, Good News II

 

David LaChapelle, We Forgave Deeply Then Flooded Our Hearts 2017
David LaChapelle, We Forgave Deeply Then Flooded Our Hearts 2017.