David LaChapelle can make anyone look like a god

David LaChapelle thinks it’s a pot of higher strength. “I have some pictures that I haven’t done much in. I just woke up in the middle of the night with a picture in my head after praying for inspiration,” the photographer told VICE over the phone. At first, it was surprising to hear someone with a long and successful career among famous people – An apprentice of Andy Warhol, discoverer of Paris Hilton and Amanda Lepore, photographer of Whitney Houston, Elizabeth Taylor and Tupac Shakur – he insists on special humility.But it turns out that this is the soul of La Chapelle, both on an artistic and personal level.

The photographer said of it: “I’m so excited to be going to a show in New York – that’s where I really grew up” make believeHis first major solo show in the United States. “New York is a tough audience, you know…if you can get there…” she backed out, before fully storming into Frank Sinatra’s blow. Retrospective, which opens in Photographica New York On September 9, it spans 150 acts from more than four decades.

At the age of fifteen, LaChapelle left his home in Connecticut and moved to Manhattan in the 1980s. He began his career as an artist in the East Village, immersing himself in the nightlife and cutting his teeth at Andy Warhols. Has bad reputation an interview magazine. Driven by the existential uncertainty of living through the HIV/AIDS pandemic, his early work featured his sick friends donning angel wings and bathing in glowing holy light.

Later, LaChapelle ventured into shooting high-budget fantasy scenes, including fashion and commercial photography, exploring synthetic themes and suburban fantasy. The 2002 photograph, “I Buy a Big Shopping Car,” places a blonde woman in a McMansion scene, standing in front of an SUV that crashes into a giant inflatable Coca-Cola can. Since this is a LaChapelle production, after all, the shaggy, bleeding model looks ready for show.

In lavish portraits, LaChapelle’s magazine work imbued the concept of celebrity with religious iconography: Kim Kardashian is Mary Magdalene crying a sparkling stream of tears; Kanye West is the Messiah who wears the Crown of Thorns.

LaChapelle’s distinctive style of photography can be seen as a surrealist celebration of contemporary culture and a cheeky satire that reminds Americans of our gravest sins. For the Kardashian-Jenner Christmas card he launched in 2013, he collected 500 tabloids emblazoned with the family’s scattered faces and spread sisters and partners across a post-apocalyptic landscape of their own making.

In addition to photography, LaChapelle directed music videos for Rolodex’s Top 40 Female Singers and a 2005 documentary about streets dance In south-central Los Angeles, many art books have been published. During midterms, he took a break from business and replaced New York with a secluded farm in Shelter. Some of his recent productions build on his religious themes by exploring the divine serenity of Hawaii’s evergreen horizons.

new offer, make believeAnd the It is the culmination of his dynamic multidisciplinary career. VICE spoke with him about the show’s retrospective, his changing inspirations, and his feelings about his legacy.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


VICE: You worked at Andy Warhol’s an interview in the eighties. Is there anything you learned from him and your time? an interview Which do you still live by?

David LaChapelle: Warhol confirmed something I had in mind. Once I was in his office and he said to me, “Do whatever you want, just make everyone look good.”

Also, I learned a much bigger lesson. My friends who were on their way to Parsons and FIT at the time were mean to Andy. They said: Why do you work for him? I showered. “They were really pessimistic.

The art world didn’t appreciate him when he died. Europe and Asia did. New York did not. He just wanted a display at the Museum of Modern Art. He wanted it all his life, and only got it after his death. The largest exhibition in the history of the museum but they waited until his death. Everyone was just walking around and saying, “Oh my God, this guy is a genius!” I just thought people would make fun of him. He was out all the time, and art critics were like, “How can he be a serious artist?”

I saw that there was a change. As the years passed, it became understood that Picasso lived in the first half of the twentieth century and Andy Warhol had the second half of the twentieth century.

Your previous work portrayed men with AIDS as heavenly angels. How did you envision this work?

Well, the people in the pictures were friends of mine. Suddenly, in the early ’80s, I realized this plague. [The CDC irresponsibly] Call [people at risk of AIDS] 4h clubHeroin addicts, homosexuals, hemophiliacs, Haitians. I had this concern early on about how this would be an epidemic, and that it would be huge. Currently, [over] 33 million people died.

The obsessions I had were really real. I’ve only had three in my life. I had been to the Robert Mapplethorpe show in the evening, and had just been sitting in the corner stumbling upon the pictures and paintings. I had this strange feeling. Coming home in the rain, I was crying so hard and had a premonition that this little thing was going to become this gigantic universal biblical plague. And then, sure enough, people started getting sick. My friend died of AIDS in 1984 when I was 21 and he was 24, and I was pretty sure I had it.

I didn’t think I would stay here for long, so I wanted to be alive. It wasn’t about money or leaving a legacy. It was about making beautiful pictures to leave the world with, and those were the pictures of angels. So I used all the money I had in the bank and designed these suites. I wanted to portray the spirit of angels. I really got close to God. I have been close to God since I was a child. But that was when I faced death. I thought I was going to die. Why not? We did not practice safe sex. Nobody did.

She has also combined pop culture-focused photography with religious imagery. For example, your profile rolling rock Coverage Kanye West as a bleeding christ. Can you expand on the portrayal of celebrities as deities?

At that time, I had made a Mediterranean Jesus and an Anglo Jesus. I was photographing Kanye for rolling rockAnd I painted a picture of myself. That year was Mel Gibson’s movie Passion of Christ It was first shown, and I matched it perfectly. Like, background, every thorn we could put on his head – it really was like a poster. I didn’t think the magazine would put it on the cover.

I wanted to shoot Black Jesus. I wanted to portray Christ in different ways and with a different skin color because the Bible tells us that we are created in the image and likeness of God. We are also different. This is something I found really interesting. It’s a really intuitive way to work and I do what I love. I have been fortunate enough to just follow my heart.

I got my start in analog photography and print media. A lot of photography is now consumed and mediated by Instagram. Has smartphone technology changed the way you produce these incredible glasses?

No, that didn’t happen. I didn’t like Instagram and have resisted for years. I didn’t want to see my pictures so small. I wanted people to make an effort to look at a book or go to a gallery. But we did a tour around the book and my studio assistant, Jonny Byrne, said, “You really need to do that.”

I got excited after a short while. It was really helpful on the book tour to have a relationship with the audience. I don’t spend a lot of time on Instagram looking at anything else because it doesn’t make me feel good. I’m very careful about what I perceive with my eyes, and I don’t want to look at random things.

As a child, I had Richard Avedon’s book which was his best work. He edited them and put them together page by page. Everything was the best hair and makeup and the best styling. I begged my dad to buy it for me when I was 14. I swear I knew every picture by heart. By osmosis, I absorbed it. The difference between looking at Avedon’s book and Instagram is that you now have to sift through a lot of mediocre, weird, and bad photos. With the book, there was no trash.

Even my early works are still standing and I could be on a museum show because I didn’t follow trends. I was doing my thing. everybody [in the 1980s] I had short, spiky hair and really wanted to sport the Renaissance style, Botticelli. There are a lot of kids who point out things that were filmed last week or last year. Go to history books and get inspired by the history of art and paintings. You don’t get to date art on Instagram.

Halfway through, I took a break from commercial photography. What inspires and motivates you right now to get more work done?

Honestly, only original. I pray for inspiration, and it comes. This is why I couldn’t make MasterClass. They wanted me to take MasterClass classes early, and they were like, “You’re going to make a lot of money.” I can’t be honest and talk about praying for inspiration as part of my job. If I deleted it, I would be a liar. If you put it on, people will want their money back.

Are you saying it comes from within?

It comes from God.

That’s why with all these things we are so proud of –I’m proud of my work, proud, proud, proud-It’s like, But humility is important. humility. I don’t mean fake humility. I am very fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity to make art. There are many people in this world who are going through war, poverty, hunger and suffering and want to make it art. I’m not proud. I am blessed. it is a gift. It is something you should be grateful for and believe in God. Nobody can tell me otherwise. Only to speak for myself. I know where my inspiration comes from, and it is not from me.

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