Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Shooting Stars

Following my blog about Guy Bourdin, it got me thinking about fabulous fashion photographers, which lead me to ponder the comic camp style of David Lachapelle. His kitsch humor and irony is unparalleled and his work is quite unique in its tacky surrealist aesthetic. I love his references to Christianity and idolatry. The great thing is that while drawing one's attention to the celebrity worshipping culture we live in, he does not allow his subjects to take themselves seriously in his shots. With his lens he pokes fun at egotistical stars by comparing them to religious icons as well as taking an artistic swipe at their drug-fuelled hedonistic lifestyle and the grimey galmour of Hollywood. Probably explaining Lachapelle's work best is the man himself in saying

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

("American Photo", July/August 1995)

His work certainly has shock factor. If the world of fashion photography was explained in terms of chart music Mario Testino would be everyone's favourite pop star, where Lachapelle brings brazen hardcore hip-hop to the scene. Once omni-present and very fashionable in the 90s, David Lachapelle seems to be keeping a lower profile these days. Perhaps his ostentacious blingy photography style is too un-recession friendly to bear. I wouldn't take him off my coffee table.

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