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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, allow me to give you a brief introduction to the Commercial, Fashion, and Celebrity Photographer David LaChapelle who just released his latest and final books, "Lost + Found, Part I" and "Good News, Part II." LaChapelle, 54, has photographed some of the most iconic figures of the 90s and 2000s including Tupac, Hillary Clinton, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Muhummad Ali. Pretty much anyone worth their salt has been shot by this guy.
Besides the fact that his work is a photographic pop culture anthology, which is so cool in of itself, LaChapelle’s photography has always had a place in my heart. I remember driving with my friend and fellow commercial photographer, Clarissa Westmeyer, to New York City back in 2006 to see one of LaChapelle’s exhibits. It was the first time I had seen such a large collection of photography in person that was surreal, colorful, erotic, challenging, and big. The exhibit was a fantastic reflection of the kind of glamorous pop culture that LaChapelle had always been drawn to, and has always been drawn to him. I remember leaving the exhibit feeling empowered as a young photographer knowing that the camera could be used just like any other medium to create whatever I wanted to, whether it be commercial or fine art.
It took a lot of people by surprise (myself included) when LaChapelle suddenly quit making images and moved to a remote part of Maui to be a farmer. The photographer whose work celebrated the glossy and grotesque of celebrity and consumerism was apparently haunted by it.
Even so, "Lost + Found, Part I" is a retrospective of LaChapelle's strongest images and a decade’s worth of unseen work. In "Good News, Part II," LaChapelle is said to explore his contemplations of mortality and attempts to photograph the un-photographable.