The music photographer Mick Rock – official photographer to David Bowie and “the gentleman who shot the 70s” – has died aged 72.
The information was confirmed by his agent in a assertion that explained Rock as a “photographic poet” and “a accurate drive of nature who put in his days undertaking just what he beloved, often in his have delightfully outrageous way”.
Rock designed the abiding photographs of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era, shot the back again sleeve for his 1973 album Pin Ups and directed videos for House Oddity, Existence on Mars, Jean Genie and John, I’m Only Dancing.
The pianist Mike Garson, a longtime collaborator with Bowie, called Rock “one of a type, with these kinds of an eye for aesthetics and seizing the suitable moments … Mick gave so a lot to this world and he adored David”.
Rock also made iconic album artwork for artists such as Lou Reed (Transformer, Coney Island Little one), the Stooges (Raw Electricity), the Ramones (Stop of the Century), Joan Jett (I Really like Rock’n’Roll) and Queen’s Queen II, an impression that the group repurposed for the video clip of Bohemian Rhapsody as perfectly as their album Sheer Heart Attack.
He continued to shoot all through his lifetime, later on generating album artwork for Atlas Audio (Parallax), Black Lips (Underneath the Rainbow) and Miley Cyrus (Plastic Hearts).
Rock also worked in film, shooting generation stills for cult musicals The Rocky Horror Photograph Show and the John Cameron Mitchell movies Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus.
Michael David Rock was born in 1948 in Hammersmith. He examined medieval and fashionable languages at Cambridge and made headlines when he was arrested for marijuana possession at university. He initially picked up a digicam during an acid vacation, although later on found there was no movie in it.
It was at Cambridge that Rock began capturing the regional audio scene, befriending the nearby musician Syd Barrett – for whose debut solo album, The Madcap Laughs, he shot the artwork – and Mick Jagger’s more youthful brother, Chris.
Rock satisfied Bowie backstage at Birmingham Town Corridor in the middle of the Ziggy Stardust tour, when the musician was still a cult act. He credited a shot of Bowie simulating oral sexual intercourse on Mick Ronson’s guitar as launching both of those of their careers.
“The guitar fellatio shot with Mick Ronson was an picture that definitely acquired close to, particularly when it got to The us,” Rock claimed. “And David would converse about currently being bisexual and would put on lipstick and push people today nuts. Mick wasn’t homosexual and the photograph isn’t meant to counsel they experienced a thing, David was just trying to bite Mick’s guitar. For the initial time people today started off to check with, ‘Who took this photograph?’”
It was Bowie who launched him to Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, main to connections with the broader 70s rock scene together with Debbie Harry and Andy Warhol – whom he as soon as photographed along with Truman Capote dressed in a Santa outfit.
Reed showed Rock New York’s gay underground. “I was fascinated,” stated Rock. “We have been upsetting the straight society, and just possessing exciting. When I received to New York it was like Sodom and Gomorrah absent berserk! London was naughty, but practically nothing like New York.”
Rock’s procedure was “more of an intuitive factor somewhat than a greatly pre-built thing”, he instructed the BBC. “I am in the company of evoking the aura of the folks and photographing.
“I’m not necessarily wanting for a literal actuality, I’m seeking for a thing that’s obtained a little bit of magic to it, and rather the place that comes from or when that moment is you can not prescribe.”
He representatives’ statement mentioned: “The stars appeared to effortlessly align for Mick when he was behind the camera. Feeding off of the one of a kind charisma of his topics electrified and energised him … A male fascinated with picture, he absorbed visible beings by way of his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus making some of the most outstanding photos rock music has at any time viewed.”
In the mid-90s, Rock said he practically died adhering to two a long time of substance abuse – he referred to as himself a “compulsive experimenter” – undergoing a quadruple heart bypass that he said was paid for by Rolling Stones supervisors Allen Klein and Andrew Loog Oldham. He also gained a kidney transplant.
“I was broke, and being broke is not enjoyment, specially with a major cocaine routine,” he reported. “I experienced the IRS up my ass, I experienced a child, I owned absolutely nothing, I was in financial debt and I received a messy reputation simply because of my practice. The excellent of my pictures did not endure, but I grew to become a lot less and a lot less reliable in terms of meetings and delivery occasions. At some point, the cell phone stopped ringing.”
He credited yoga, massage and meditation with aiding his rehabilitation, as well as in no way obtaining touched heroin or alcoholic beverages. By the 2000s, common rock pictures had taken on a enormous cultural enchantment, frequently generating exhibitions and guides. Renewed desire in Rock’s work gave the photographer a fresh start, shooting the likes of Kate Moss, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pharrell.
Rock posted quite a few publications gathering his most famous photos and hosted the documentary sequence On the History With Mick Rock, in which he fulfilled musicians such as Kings of Leon and Patti LaBelle and toured their property cities.
Rock lived in New York Metropolis on Staten Island with his spouse Pati and daughter Nathalie.
He not too long ago claimed that he had been “offered millions” for his archives, to which he retained copyright. “So why not funds in and do a Bob Dylan?” he explained. “Well, if it was value that significantly I may be tempted, since which is just unbelievable. I have considered about it but it is not heading to take place proper now. When it does I plan to depart some to the yogis and some to my school, because that’s the place I uncovered all my mischief.”