Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A Year of Passing Stars: the Photographic Life of a Rock Chameleon

Bowie's first album, David Bowie, released in 1967 displays a casual innocence.
By 2002, his artwork for the album Heathen (photographed by Markus Klinko) has changed virtually beyond all recognition...
As the media is currently noting, 2016 has been a terrible year for those in the music industry.
Nearly 30 years on from his first recordings, an image by Nick Night for Bowie's 1993 album Black Tie, White Noise

And for some reason it feels as if this rash of premature deaths seems to be more pronounced than in previous years. I think it's because we (baby boomers) grew up with these stars: Bowie, Cohen, Keith Emmerson - to name a few.  Many led high pressure lives, filled with heavy drug habits and alcoholism which must have contributed, at least in part, to their premature demise.

Original hand-coloured black-and-white image used for the breakthrough Spiders album back in 1972.
Photo was by Brian Ward and was shot in Heddon Street, central London.

Above all others, David Bowie transformed his persona many times through his life - so many times that I think he developed a real fear of schizophrenia. Here are some of the most memorable images documenting a truly remarkable career.
Top: Image shot in the 70s during Bowie's Stardust tour.
Bottom: Iconic studio shot of Bowie from Greg Gorman
Aladdin Sane
Iconic image (this is actually an outtake from the shoot) of Bowie shot by Duffy in 1973 and, at right, an image shot for Bowie's Heroes album, by Masayoshi Sukita.
Left: Another fine image shot by Brian Ward for the Hunky Dory album in '71.
At right: Bowie's last live performance, in Germany, in 2004, photo by Jo Hale

For me Bowie is probably the most iconic loss out of all these musos - I grew up with David Jones and his albums; Hunky Dory and Space Oddity, went mad over his groundbreaking The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, loved his metamorphosis into Aladdin Sane (even though I'd no idea what that was all about...) and have admired his career shifts through the years to Young Americans, Station to Station, Low and of course, the brilliant Heroes, A Reality Tour and  Let's Dance...

From a series of extraordinary shots of Bowie entitled "watch that man" by Masayoshi Sukita, and the artwork for Bowie's 1977 album Low which is a still from the Nicolas Roeg movie; The Man Who Fell to Earth...
Another great 70's look, again by master photographer Masayoshi Sukita, who photographed David Bowie on and off for 40 years. The image on the right is from Bowie's 1976 film, The Man Who Fell to Earth

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