David Bowie’s mercurial assortment of alter egos — from Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane to The Thin White Duke and the more recent Lazarus identity that posthumously inhabits Blackstar, his final album and first Billboard No. 1 — will be remembered just as much for their songs as their visages. No one captured Bowie’s unbridled devotion to his craft as poetically as Mick Rock, Bowie’s friend and official photographer between 1972-1973. (Mick Rock. The Rise of David Bowie is set to be published by Taschen next month.) Whether painting his face backstage or stomping around a stage in heels, in front of Rock’s camera, Bowie revealed himself as both an otherworldly man from mars and also completely down to earth. Here, Rock reflects on their historic partnership.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share our beloved psychedelic renegade Mick Rock has made the Jungian journey to the other side. Those who had the pleasure of existing in his orbit, know that Mick was always so much more than ’The Man Who Shot The 70s.’ He was a photographic poet — a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his own delightfully outrageous way.
The stars seemed to effortlessly align for Mick when he was behind the camera; feeding off of the unique charisma of his subjects electrified and energized him. His intent always intense. His focus always total. A man fascinated with image, he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus creating some of the most magnificent photographs rock music has ever seen. To know Mick was to love him. He was a mythical creature; the likes of which we shall never experience again.
Let us not mourn the loss, but instead, celebrate the fabulous life and extraordinary career of Michael David Rock. While you do so in your own way, we must ask that the privacy of his nearest and dearest be respected at this time. Therefore, there will be no further comments.
Photo: Nathalie Rock