"Imagination is like a muscle, you have to exercise it!"

David was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, in the Northeastern US. He was the third child of his parents and so the centre of love and care. His dad was a fanatical Catholic and his brother a priest, but for David the religion was nothing more than a vague notion and its various flavours nothing more than rivulets running to join one and the same ocean. David's mom, Helga LaChapelle, was a waitress who spent her free time taking photos of the beautiful landscapes along the shores of Long Island, Stratford. Those were likely the works that inspired the young boy to take up photography himself. He took his first shot at six, and it was his mom's portrait. When he turned nine, the family moved to the South Atlantic shores of the US, to North Carolina.

Not yet a teenager, David already knew he will become an artist. He wanted to stand out from the crowd, look different, dress like the stars of the 50-ies did or like movie cowboys did. He was obsessed with anything Andy Warhol was doing — and Warhol was then the most strikingly unusual and controversial artist. Yet the peers only laughed and jeered at David's eccentricities. He was, indeed, far from being a perfect student, and, at fifteen, having had enough of loneliness and rejection, ran away from home to the dream city of all young boys — New York. He went into raptures over the music and the lights of clubs, everything looked magical and enticing, but it was not easy for a young adolescent to live in this huge city, one of the most expensive in the world. He earned his living by washing the floors and busboying. Yet his passion for art and self- expression only grew stronger. And one day, after a star-studded party at a nightclub, he happened to find an expensive golden earring on the floor (which, as it turned out later, belonged to Paloma Picasso herself). David was able to sell the precious thing and used the money to buy a good camera! Finally, the real life was about to begin...

David LaChapelle, American fashion photographer, video clip director, flamboyant personality, enfant- terrible, agent- provocateur, and peerless master of "surrealistic glamour" is well-known among the art professionals as well as among art fans. His work is allegorical and based on stunning images that transform the usual and offer a new look at the world, events and people.

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David LaChapelle is inspired by street culture and street history. He has a view of nature that is his own, and he has a knack of using it to create rare allegorical images. Still a young man, he would shoot everything and everywhere; he was obsessed by photography, but, alas, his prints wouldn't sell. His life in a world where extreme wealth and extreme poverty were never far from each other began to take a downward turn. Luckily for David, his father was able to locate him and persuade the boy to finish school.

David LaChapelle goes back to North Carolina and enrols in the state university's School of the Arts. It was there that he finally found people who spoke the same language, and his talents flourished. He was, in fact, extremely lucky – the school would normally only take kids who had wealthy parents. Yet LaChapelle was studying for free! David was coming to terms with his talent – and also with the fact that he turned out to be gay. His parents were stunned when he came out to them, yet offered him full support. After graduating, a dream comes true and David moves to New York City, where he enrols into Arts Student Leagues and School of Visual Arts at the same time. He also got the chance to meet his idol, Andy Warhol, on whose recommendation he soon lands his first job.

David LaChapelle worked in the Interview magazine, founded by Warhol in 1969, from 1984 to 1987, and shot the last portrait of his idol. Working with Warhol, a genius who spotted David's young talent, meant a whole new horizon of opportunities. The magazine, true to its name, published interviews and photo-shoots of famous artists, musicians, designers, directors and actors. David's career was skyrocketing and soon he became one of the most glamorous and sought-out photographers of the late 20th century. Stars, politicians, show-biz giants – everyone wanted a place in his shots, never mind his asking price was something with five zeroes.

In a very short period of time David publishes a number of photo albums – LaChapelle Land, Hotel LaChapelle, Heaven to Hell, Artists and Prostitutes – that contain surrealistic portraits of many celebrities: Elton John, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Macy Gray, Christina Ricci, Gisele Bündchen, Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell, Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, David Beckham, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Uma Thurman, Lady Gaga. That was the moment when the master photographer could pick his own models – and reject anyone whom he didn't want to shoot.

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David LaChapelle's shots — strange, magnificent, sometimes funny but always unique — are easily recognizable thanks to their irony and unusual approach. They grace the pages of Vogue, Photo, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, i-D, Vibe, The Face, British GQ, Interview and dozens of other glamour magazines. The American Photo Association named David LaChapelle as one of its Top 10 Most Important People in Photography. Yet he does not limit himself to it. David LaChapelle acts as director of advertising shots for Tommy Hilfiger, Lavazza, Nokia, L'Oréal, Diesel and Burger King. He directed music videos of Christina Aguilera, Moby and Jennifer Lopez, and made his debut as a director of a feature- length film in 2005, entitled Rize and telling the story of krumping — a highly energetic style of dance originating in South and Central Los Angeles. His untamed imagination and eroticism would find expression in a number of unusual and unpredictable ways – for example, lately David LaChapelle decided to follow in the footsteps of Valentino, Missoni, Versace, Ferre, Ferretti, Blumarine, and Kisa by designing a label for Rocca di Frassinello, a very popular wine sold on the five continents and in 60 countries.

Having made his credentials in fashion, advertising and art photography, having earned the title of "the king of surrealistic glamour" and proved himself as a director of provocative performances, David LaChapelle is sure – the art is the tool that can change our view of the usual, but also one that can change the world itself and open whole new levels of understanding of yourself, of the culture and of our time. A true guru of fashion and advertising, David LaChapelle is still constantly searching for new ideas and venues of expression. Having achieved fame, he is still full of life and energy, and remains true to his artistic credo: «If my head is empty and I've got nothing on my schedule ... I try to turn my imagination on, knock it off the ordinary rails. It is like a muscle – you always have to exercise it!"