His hypersaturated, sexually charged, often surreal fashion editorials and magazine covers (he held lucrative contracts at Vogue and Rolling Stone) were met with acclaim and had him dubbed “the Fellini of photography.” And yet in 2006, he stepped away from commercial work, retreating to an isolated former nudist colony in Maui, Hawaii to focus on fine-art photography and farming.
“My agents were telling me, ‘This is mistake,'” LaChapelle recalled at his Marylebone hotel during a stop in London. “My gut was telling me it’s time to stop because I was no longer in love with it. I didn’t really believe in this idea that happiness is your next purchase, and my work was reflecting that. It’s time to let a younger person who’s passionate about celebrity and fashion step in.”
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