The dazzling lights of David LaChapelle’s hyper-realistic photographs, glinting from neon and metallic and shimmering objects, send a hazy glow into the dark background; a magical aura that conjures up memories of fairground rides and bonfire nights and hot breath misting up the air in front of you. The photographer’s images are no less magical really; they draw you in, bedazzled and bewildered, like a ditzy moth drawn to a lamp, and then surprise you by being even more brilliant than you realised at first.
Although they appear to be fantastically lit-up images of power stations and industrial plants, David’s images are actually intricate miniatures, made from plastic straws and egg cartons, drinks bottles and pegs. There’s an element of Where’s Wally?, trying to work out what everything is actually made of, hunting out the aluminium cans and yoghurt pots. Even more crazily, they were shot on location in the rainforests of Maui and the coastlines of California, as shown in the artist’s latest monograph, Landscape.
Splashed across double-page spreads in this massive book, images from two surreal series – Gas Station and Refineries – are interspersed with making-of pictures which turn everything topsy turvy, revealing how what seems massive is actually minute and vice versa. The vision of the human-sized dolls’ house feels like something straight out of a Wes Anderson film, with bonkers scenarios being played out in every room. Truly mind-boggling.