David LaChapelle’s Toxic Landscapes

The Dirt

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Once named the “Fellini of photography,” David LaChapelle has left his popular commercial work behind to return to his original fine art photography. In a new series called Land Scape, LaChapelle created handcrafted scale models of gas stations and refineries and photographed them with hundreds of LED lights. The work is an eerie look at the unsustainable landscape of today’s global, industrial oil production and distribution system.

In the exhibition catalog, Shana Dambrot writes: “The gas stations and refineries that populate iconic locations are staged as architectural avatars of a planet coping with the stresses of peak-oil — even as the buildings’ dazzling spectacle and retro-future aesthetic distracts from the dangers of their function.” To build these incredible models, LaChapelle used cardboard and recycled materials, like “tea canisters, hair curlers, and other by-products of our petroleum-based, disposability-obsessed culture.”

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In the Refineries set (see images above and below), LaChapelle turns…

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