Mick Rock‘s photos helped immortalize 1970s rock legends like Queen, Syd Barrett, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Blondie, T. Rex, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and the Talking Heads, but some would say his most iconic images were of David Bowie. You see, the London native was Bowie’s official photographer, and he documented the singer’s legendary Ziggy Stardust tour.
Rebelling against the social taboos of the time, the 191-date tour saw Bowie portray an androgynous bisexual rock star named Ziggy Stardust who transmits messages from extraterrestrial beings. This tour, and its associated album, helped define Bowie as one of the most theatrical and fearless artists of the early Sexual Revolution, and Rock captured many magical moments on and off the stage. With Bowie’s blessing, Taschen compiled this work in a 300-page book titled The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973.
Rock was arguably the perfect photographer to capture this moment. According to one legend, “he took up photography after someone handed him a camera while he was tripping on LSD,” and his first press mention involved getting arrested for cannabis, not photography. Clearly this was a match made on Mars.
Earlier editions of the book were more expensive, yet all of them — including a $4,000 edition — sold out. This new hardcover release is available now from Taschen for $40.
Photos by Mick Rock and courtesy of Taschen.