If you’ve wondered what has David LaChapelle been up to, now that he’s turned his back to the lure of big budget magazines, I’ve got the answer for you.
In Earth Laughs In Flowers, an exhibition of 10 large scale photographs, LaChapelle has gone back to basics and looked to traditional Baroque still nature for inspiration. LaChapelle of course brings his own pop culture vision to the table and alongside the traditional staple marks of still nature (fruits, flowers and skulls), he includes everyday objects such as cell phones, cigarette butts, balloons, Barbies and medicines.
With his unusual compositions, LaChapelle explores the fragility of society and ideas of vice and vanity. The exhibition’s title, Earth Laughs in Flowers, comes from the poem Hamatreya, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, in which joyous flowers articulate nature’s hatred of human ignorance and desire to control the earth.
Each work is named according to the cycles of both seasons and life and their painterly effect was achieved by using very slow shutter speeds, smoke diffusion and low light sources.
I’ve had the good fortune of having seen these live and their huge size alone is quite impressive, but it’s their chaotic nature that captivates and enchants. At the center of each image is a vase overflowing with flowers in typical Baroque painting style, surrounded by a disorderly pile of pop culture junk and it’s that bizarre juxtaposition that draws you in.