Album art and the imagery surrounding an album’s era are important. Think Travis Scott’s Astrowrorld or Lil’ Kim’s The Notorious K.I.M. — both were taken by acclaimed photographer David LaChapelle. And now we can add Doja Cat to that impressive roster as she prepares to blast us off to Planet Her full speed ahead. Ensuing the release of her new single and accompanying music video, “Need To Know” — with visuals that gave us Fifth Element meets Blade Runner —the rapstress took to Instagram this past week to unveil promo images from her upcoming album.
Teaming up with iconic fashion and pop culture photographer, David LaChapelle, the images exude his signature, surrealist aesthetic. LaChapelle is a celebrated American photographer and video artist best known for his commercial fashion portraits of celebrities and models — we’re talking from Madonna and Amanda Lepore to Tupac and Lizzo. As a former intern of Andy Warhol, his photographic lens takes cues from pop art mixed with modern-surrealism. He’s known for creating expansive worlds through curated images so it makes perfect sense that the “Say So” singer would partner with him to produce imagery for her next era.
Following Doja Cat’s soon to be iconic album promo images for her highly anticipated, afro-futuristic sophomore album, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite pop culture imagery courtesy of the legendary photographer David LaChapelle below.
Lil’ Kim has been a muse of sorts to LaChapelle, partnering for various projects and posing for several now iconic, portraits. I mean the Louis Vuitton skin monogrammed image lives rent free in our minds.
Kanye West rolling stone editorial:
Long before Kanye West declared Jesus Is King, there was his 2005 single, “Jesus Walks.” West used the single and accompanying video to start a narrative around how religion looked in the modern age, specifically, the early aughts. Through a series of portraits, West and LaChapelle continued that religious iconography through-line for this editorial for Rolling Stone.
This image perfectly sums up the dynamic energy of the late designer and his muse, Isabella Blow. They were punk AF, daring, brought a new verve to fashion and LaChapelle perfectly captures that in this spread for Vanity Fair.
Lady Gaga bubbles:
Inspired by a Hussain Chalayan bubble dress of the same concept, Gaga made the bubbles a through line during her now infamous, The Fame Monster Tour. LaChapelle played off the surrealist nature of her bubble leotard to create an interpretation of a bubble bath for her 2009 Rolling Stones cover.
Anna nicole smith:
It doesn’t get more pop culture than 90’s-early aughts model and pop culture icon Anna Nicole Smith, right?
For her 1999 album of bops —I mean, “Heartbreaker,” “Crybaby,” — the elusive chanteuse teamed up with LaChapelle for her now timeless, iconic Rainbow album cover.
LaChapelle is responsible for some of the most iconic pop culture and fashion industry over the last 40 years and with recent additions Lizzo, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj — and now with Doja, it seems he’ll continue making more iconic imagery for years to come.