A Commercial Fine Art Photographer Shares His Story

The road to a career in photography seems to be different for everyone. Some photographers see their endpoint from the beginning, while others seem to fall into their work without any preconceived notions about where it will take them.

Commercial fine art photographer David LaChapelle discovered photography in high school and never stopped creating his unique images. Take a look inside this brilliant photographer’s mind and his studio as he shares the story behind his success:

LaChapelle says that photography, for him, was never intended to be a source of fame or fortune. He simply wanted to create beauty and honesty. At the age of 18, his love of nightclubs brought him to New York City, where he’s spent much of his teen years when not in school. Soon after, he had his first photography show in a friend’s loft. These first images were black and white and exhibited his experimentation with bleaching on prints, metaphysical themes, and nude figuratives. He had his second show soon after, and then began taking assignments.


Those first assignments were exciting. He was meeting interesting people and being published in magazines. He took the first published photograph of the Beastie Boys and the last portrait of Andy Warhol before the artist’s death.


Andy Warhol, Last Sitting, November

David LaChapelle’s more current work is a feast for the eyes. He photographs celebrities on highly saturated, surreal sets that he builds and reuses in his Los Angeles studio. He strives for his photos to have the same impact on his audiences as music has on listeners. He wants to engage and connect with his viewers through his art so that it stays with them.



LaChapelle says his career has been an unplanned journey. The key to his success was to be true to himself by producing images that he found beautiful.

“I never wanted to create more confusion or darkness or ugly things.”

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