David LaChapelle (born March 11, 1963 in Fairfield, Connecticut) is a photographer and director who works in the fields of fashion, advertising, and fine art photography, and is noted for his surreal, unique and often humorous style.
LaChapelle has four published books of his photographs, including LaChapelle Land and Hotel LaChapelle, both containing vivid and bizarre portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Manson, Naomi Campbell, David Beckham, Drew Barrymore, Shirley Manson, Courtney Love, Lance Armstrong, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and Uma Thurman.
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.
He was the original director of Madonna’s video for the 2005 hit “Hung Up”, but fell apart due to creative differences with the singer.
He has directed advertisements for major brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Lavazza, Nokia, L’Oréal, Diesel and Burger King. In 2006 he directed “Romeo and Juliet,” a five-minute commercial for H&M’s new denim brand and “Tis the Season to be Gorgeous,” a humorous Christmas commercial for UK retailer Boots Group showing glamorous-looking 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 among the burning wreckage on the beach; whilst the cast voice-over such phrases as “one of us is a murderer”; “one of us is a junkie” etc. In addition to this, he directed Channel 4’s promotion of Desperate Housewives season one.
LaChapelle’s works have been described as surrealist, grotesque, shocking and ironic. His use of celebrities exaggerates aspects of their personalities or their personal lives.