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David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle Biography

born CT (USA) 1969

David LaChapelle is a photographer and director who has worked in the fields of fashion, advertising, and fine art photography. He is famous for his surreal and often humorous style.

LaChapelle was born in Connecticut in 1969.

He attended the North Carolina School of Art and the School of the Arts in New York. His first professional job as a photographer was for Interview magazine, an opportunity offered to him by Andy Warhol. He has two published books of his photographs, LaChapelle Land and Hotel LaChapelle, both of which contain vivid and bizarre portraits of celebrities.

More recently, his film Rize, a documentary on the clowning style of dance had its festival premiere at Sundance in 2005 and was released theatrically in the summer of that year. He also recently directed an advertisement for H&M's new denim selection; this commercial was based on the story of Romeo and Juliet.

LaChapelle Land Published in 1996. Hotel LaChapelle Published in 1999. Both of these feature LaChapelle's trademark zany imagery and idiosyncratic colourful style. Features pictures of Madonna, Elton John, Billy Corgan and Marilyn Manson among various other celebrities and models.

Also featured on the David LaChapelle website is a photography book spanning LaChapelle's entire career to date. The book, which has not yet been released, will be named "Artists and Prostitutes" will be limited to 2,500 copies and will be numbered and signed by David LaChapelle.

In addition to his still photography LaChapelle directs music videos for select artists including Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, No Doubt, Whitney Houston, Moby, Macy Gray, Blink 182, Elton John, Christina Aguilera, and The Vines. His haunting video for Moby's "Natural Blues," featuring Moby as an old man and Christina Ricci as an angel, had a huge presence in the music video industry in 2000. At the MTV Europe Music Awards, "Natural Blues" was named Best Video of the year, the result of a popular vote of over 7 million viewers. This was striking in that it was only LaChapelle's third video. "Natural Blues" was also nominated in the U.S., in the MTV Video Awards "Best Male Artist" category, and for best "Visionary Video" at the VH-1/ Vogue Fashion Awards.

Select Timeline

Select Exhibitions

  • 2006 - The Group Sessions. Part I, Guy Hepner Contemporary, London, UK
  • 2006 - The Group Sessions. Part II, Guy Hepner Contemporary, London, UK
  • 2006 - Pictures for Italian Vogue, 2001-2005, Staley + Wise Gallery, NY, NY
  • 2005 - David Lachapelle in Palermo, Parco d'arte alla Kalsa, Palermo, Italy
  • 2005 - Camera Ready: A David LaChapelle Retrospective, Guy Hepner Contemporary, London, UK
  • 2005 - David LaChapelle, Reflex Modern Art Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 2005 - David LaChapelle, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Knokke, Belgium
  • 2005 - Portraits of Musicians, Rudolf Budja Galerie, Salzburg, Austria
  • 2005 - Artists and Prostitutes, Deitch Projects, NY, NY
  • 2005 - From the Source: Fashion Photographs, Corkin Shopland Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2005 - Fashion In Art: Art In Fashion, Guy Hepner Contemporary, London, UK
  • 2003 - Third International Festival: Fashion and Style in Photography, Moscow House of Photography, Russia
  • 2003 - Vanity Fair , Torch Gallery, Amsterdam
  • 2002 - All American, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, NY, NY
  • 2002 - Where is Elvis? Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2002 - David LaChapelle: Photographs, KunstHausWien, Vienna
  • 2002 - Buds, Blooms & Blossoms, Staley Wise, New York, NY
  • 2002 - Archeology of Elegance, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
  • 2002 - New York, New York: The City In Photopgraphs, Staley Wise, New York, NY
  • 2002 - Photographs, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK
  • 2000 - Chic Thrills: Pop-Surealism in Photography, Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam

Select Music Videos as Director

  • 1994 - Penny Ford - "I'll Be There"
  • 1997 - The Dandy Warhols - "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth"
  • 1997 - Space Monkeys - Sugar Cane
  • 2000 - Kelis - "Good Stuff"
  • 2000 - Moby - "Natural Blues"
  • 2000 - Enrique Iglesias - "Sad Eyes" (Unreleased)
  • 2001 - Elton John - "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
  • 2001 - Mariah Carey feat. Da Brat & Ludacris - "Loverboy"
  • 2002 - Elton John - "Original Sin"
  • 2002 - The Vines - "Outtathaway"
  • 2002 - Christina Aguilera feat. Redman - "Dirrty"
  • 2002 - Avril Lavigne - "I'm With You"
  • 2003 - Jennifer Lopez - "I'm Glad"
  • 2003 - Whitney Houston - "Try It On My Own"
  • 2003 - Christina Aguilera feat. Lil' Kim - "Can't Hold Us Down"
  • 2003 - Macy Gray - "She Ain't Right For You"
  • 2003 - Christina Aguilera - "The Voice Within"
  • 2003 - Blink-182 - "Feeling This"
  • 2003 - No Doubt - "It's My Life"
  • 2004 - The Three Bad Girls - "Like You"
  • 2004 - Britney Spears - "Everytime"
  • 2004 - Joss Stone - "Super Duper Love"
  • 2004 - Norah Jones - "Those Sweet Words"
  • 2004 - Elton John - "Answer In The Sky"
  • 2004 - Elton John - "All That I'm Allowed"
  • 2004 - Gwen Stefani feat. Eve - "Rich Girl"
  • 2005 - Robbie Williams - "Advertising Space"
  • 2006 - Elton John - "Someone Saved My Life Tonight"


  • 1995 - "Best New Photographer of the Year" by both French Photo and American Photo magazines
  • 1996 - "Photographer of the Year Award" at the VH-1 Fashion Awards
  • 1997 - "Art Directors Club Award" for Best Book Design for LaChapelle Land
  • 1998 - Best "Cutting Edge Essay" and "Style Photography" at Life magazine's Alfred Eisenstadt Awards for Magazine Photography (the Eisies)
  • 1999 - Honored in the "Cover of the Year" category at the Eisies
  • 2000 - Won "Best Video" for Moby's "Natural Blues" at the MTV Europe Music Awards
  • 2003 - 12th Annual MVPA (Music Video Production Association) Awards - Adult Contemporary Video of the year - Elton John "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore"
  • 2004 - 13th Annual MVPA Awards - Winner "Director of the Year" - "Best Rock Video of the Year" for No Doubt "It's My Life"
  • 2004 - Special Juried Prize Mountainfilm in Telluride
  • 2004 - Special Juried Recognition in Sundance Film Festival
  • 2004 - Winner of "Best documentary" in Aspen Film Festival
  • 2006 - Presented with the GLAAD Vito Russo Award for outstanding contributions toward eliminating homophobia


  • LaChapelle Land (1996)
  • Hotel LaChapelle (1999)
  • Artists and Prostitutes (2006)
  • Heaven to Hell (2006)


  • "People say photographs don't lie, mine do"
  • "My work is about making candy for the eyes. It's about grabbing your attention. Even though my work is appearing in magazines I am trying to make a large picture. I want my photographs to read like a poster."
  • "If you want reality take the bus."


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