Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One/One-Thousand: David Lachapelle

Lachapelle's blazing photo of Alexander McQueen. Nothing is added in digitally, it's all happening.

There's something overexposed about David Lachapelle, but I think it's intentional. His work, his aesthetic has been so used up in current culture that I've avoided profiling him. I thought his look was so over and pop media was as saturated with Lachapelle as his acid-bright color pallet. But then I meandered through the world of Youtube and found this lost Lost promo from the UK, and I was reminded of how his cinematic style is always executed so well, whether he's shooting a TV advert, or a fashion spread.

Lachapelle was an explosion in the '90s. He took fashion photography and cranked all of its knobs up to the max. The colors, the action, the props multiplied like so many bunnies--it was allso incredibly novel and necessary. The Maximalism of the '80s was splashed all over Lachapelle's work, but with an ironic edge that tugged at your laugh lines, and elicited a smirk rather than a sneer. Lachapelle's work was the extacy to the coke (think Guy Bourdain) of the '80s, and the club culture with all of its attendant substances and throbbing beats are where Lachapelle got his start.

A job at Studio 54 led to a meeting with Andy Warhol which led to a permanent spot on the team of Interview Magazine. From there Lachapelle just skyrocketed, and brought his tranny, club-hopping friends with him. His splashy style was perfect for the candy-sweet '90s and his work found a home in Rollingstone Magazine before long.

The standout feature of Chapelle's shots has always been their theatricality. The colors are so loud you can practically hear them, and the sets are works of wonder. Either painted in vibrant hues or stocked with row after row of poppy prop, the environments Chapelle and his talented team create are storytelling tools. A Chapelle portrait is no ordinay celeb snap, it's often an uber-heightened documentation of someone's persona, like when people claim they can photograph your aura. For instance, there's Pamela Anderson and her giant breasts hatching fully formed from a simple egg, there's Gaga surrounded by tiny, plastic bubbles, Madonna dancing in the streets with a block full of motley fans.

David's fashion work for Italian Vogue, I-D, and Delicae Vitae has all the same pop and crazy circumstance. Shoe stories are boltered by bodybuilders, and designer pieces are donned by models made to look like dolls. It's all like a dazzling disco on too much amphetimines, or rather maybe just enough. His style is everywhere, yes, but that too is a testament to his talents. Lachapelle is his own universe, and I love to visit through his photos.

1 comment:

Marciano Lansu said...
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