I prefer straight photography. I'd rather see what the photographer saw in front of his camera rather than what he or she created in Photoshop. To me, so much of what passes as photography today is really photo-illustration.
I still prefer the images of Salgado, Nachtwey, Bill Allard or David Alan Harvey to the over-produced, over-styled, over-retouched creations of Annie or LaChapelle. Commerce is one thing and its needs are very different from reportage or editorial. My preference is to see and appreciate images made by photographers who were interested in their subject and how the images can report the reality of a situation. I have zero interest in seeing images created by photographers who are more impressed with their own production values and how big their crew is or what the art director ate or wore.
With LaChapelle, you have chosen my personal number one on the stylistic hate list.
His work epitomises all that is wrong (in my view) with modern photography. There is so much that can be done straight, that all that messing about seems, again, to me, to be not a lot more than a trick to confuse, to hide a small visual imagination.
The real problem is not the photographer; in my opinion, the real devils are those who hire the people who work in those ways. But, were I LaChapelle, I´d continue doing exactly what I was doing. You must reap all that you can while you can - tomorrow you will be yesterday´s man. C´est la vie.