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Ziggy Stardust Photographer
"A WHILE AGO, I had occasion to reflect on this relationship: I was the man who framed Ziggy Stardust, and who, one singular afternoon, not so many manic years later realised that, in the end, Ziggy Stardust had framed me. I was only the camera eye, but my vision would never be the same again ... " - Mick Rock
Often referred to as "The Man Who Shot the Seventies", legendary rock and roll photographer Mick Rock first met David Bowie in early 1972. Most of the wonderful images of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust on this web-site were shot by Mick Rock in his capacity as the "official" Bowie photographer.
"WHEN I first met Bowie he was a London camp/cult figure, best known, if at all, for wearing a dress on an album jacket (the original UK cover to The Man Who Sold The World). Nobody I knew was familiar with him or his music. By chance I heard a cast-off promotional copy of Hunky- Dory. From the first it excited me like few records ever had, and then there was the face on the cover ... I tried to convince the London editor of Rolling Stone magazine to commission a photo feature on Bowie. He agreed to submit it to the U.S. editors, but he couldn't guarantee they'd run it or pay me. It didn't matter, I had my excuse. The first thing David Bowie ever said to me was: 'I like your name.' I thought he had an excellent name too. The difference, it transpired, was that mine was given - while his was assumed, which didn't prevent us from having many tastes in common - from Syd Barrett to the Velvet Underground, Jacques Brel to Jean-Louis Barrault ... This would be the beginning of a fascinating two year relationship with Bowie and Ziggy Stardust which would produce promo films, album jackets, posters, artwork, interviews and several thousand still photos." - Mick Rock
A Photographic Record: 1969-1980
Rock was instrumental in creating many other key rock 'n' roll images such as Lou Reed's Transformer, Iggy Pop's Raw Power and Queen's Queen II. Mick Rock has continued to capture the musical spirit of succeeding eras through his work with musicians of the 1980's and 90's. His work is the subject of a recently published book A Photographic Record: 1969-1980
- a 130-page portfolio from Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett in 1969 to Lou Reed in 1980 featuring over forty pictures of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in between.
Michael David Rock was born in west London and earned a scholarship to Cambridge where he studied modern languages, graduating in the late sixties. It was the expressive seduction of subversive poets of yore rather that finite imagery that encouraged Rock to explore his own creative expression. "I discovered the lives and works of the great Bohemian poets, like Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Nerval. They were my heroes".
"London in the late sixties and early seventies was a hotbed of creative interchange. The prevalent hippie philosophy united all manner of artists, musicians, film makers, models, designers, actors, writers, and photographers into a unique and fertile community. My timing was excellent. Curiosity and circumstance drew me into the flame of rock n roll." - Mick Rock
Rock became intensely interested in the artists and performers at the cutting edge of their time who were not afraid to cross the line. He was soon travelling back and forth between London and New York, on tour with emerging artists such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. In 1977 he moved permanently to New York just in time to sense the importance of the bustling New Wave scene.
Mick Rock's Ziggy Stardust 1972/1973 Photo-book (1984)
"This was quite controversial at the time. Although that shot was always seen with most of the background cropped out by publishers. I really prefer the image presented in its full frame." - Mick Rock (1999)
The uncropped image
"This was actually a press conference. RCA flew in a lot of journalists from America because David was planning this tour for the fall of 1972 and the idea was to generate some press. David was starting to be a big deal in England and Lou and Iggy had both recently arrived and obviously they were invited for part of the flavoring of things. They were just David's friends - Mick Ronson, the Spiders, the management people, the wife Angela, Iggy, Lou, my ex-wife Sheila were there. There weren't that many of us, maybe a dozen in all. And a couple of people from Tony DeFries' [Bowie's manager] office. It was tea time at the Dorchester Hotel. You can see it was mostly for the American press. David also used this opportunity to get Lou and Iggy out and parade them around. Maybe in his excitement for their work which is an excitement we both shared. When I first met David there were three people we talked about. One was Iggy, one was Lou; the other one was Syd Barrett. So we kind of swapped stories. I swapped him Syd Barrett stories and he swapped tales of Iggy and Lou. So that was probably the first bonding with David when we found a certain taste in common. It tended to me the more esoteric and extreme variety, these two of course among the manifestation of exactly that attitude and philosophy. But it was teatime, daylight hours and we're all in the very expensive room at the Dorchester. But I did take this picture. I knew I was gonna get this picture no matter what happened. I was not letting anybody out until I got a shot of the three of them together. At the time it wasn't really a big deal. Because David was just breaking and just starting to garner a lot of attention and Iggy and Lou were still underground figures. But for me, this was a very important moment and it remains an important shot. That's the only time the three of them were in a photograph together. And of course Iggy was wearing a T-Rex t-shirt. And he's got a pack of Lucky Strike in his mouth. It just happened. That was just one of those great fortuitous things..... David was doing what he always did. He kept changing clothes. That was his thing. He's always changing clothes. We were all very young. I mean, we were no longer teenagers but David was about 25, I was 24, Iggy was 23. Lou's the oldest. He might have been 28, 29. We were all in our twenties." - Mick Rock (1999)
Mick Rock 1996 Ziggy Stardust Calendar
VISIT: www.mickrock.com: The photographer's own website
---This page last modified: 10 Dec 2018---