Burning Beauty

2012
Burning Beauty

Exhibition at Fotografiska in Stockholm, Sweden.
Publication: BankerWessel, Elanders Falth & Hassler, and Fotografiska
Publication date: 2012
Credits: Min-Jun Jonsson, Patrik Steorn and Pauline Benthede
Format: 12.4" x 9.4”
Features: 302 pages, full color, hardcover book
Language: English
ISBN: 9789186741020


Excerpt from the critical essay, “The Art of Staging Passion” by Patrik Steorn:

David LaChapelle’s images have a tendency to awaken an array of feelings in spectators. Some laugh at the absurdity of his dramatic scenes, others are outrages. People of all genders, colours and body sizes appear as models; but do they represent diversity, or are they reduced to stereotypes? Advertising images of oiled, nude, muscular bodies and exclusive garments; but are they pleasurable or provoking to see? Celebrities posing for the camera in a glamorous or twisted portrait can excite curiosity or malice. LaChapelle’s imagery has the ability not only to attract our gaze with seductive and remarkable bodies, settings and objects in every conceivable and inconceivable constellation; it also has the capacity to incite reactions that charge our seeing with emotions that engender a relationship between the image and its viewer. His imagery places the viewer in the midst of the turbulent visual culture of the past quarter-century and invites us to a blend of passion, comedy, exaggeration and critical reflection.

By approaching David LaChapelle’s work from a viewer’s perspective, one can focus on the capacity of his images to both reflect and interact with contemporary culture. In this essay a selection of his works is related to changes in recent decades in consumer patterns, fashion, media and image culture, body ideals, celebrity culture, religion and spirituality. The capacity of these images to address the viewer in defined as a facet of the artist role that enables LaChapelle to transgress habitual seeing and to create his own visual.