Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Mick Rock (photographer)

all photos copyright Mick Rock

Mick Rock is a photographer best known for his iconic shots of 1970s glam rock icons and early punk stars such as David Bowie, Queen, Mick Ronson, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and Blondie.

By 1972, Mick Rock was already becoming well-known as a photographer, particularly for his photographs of Bowie and Ronson during the Ziggy Stardust tour, on which Mick Rock was the official photographer.

He is responsible for album covers including Queen's "Queen II" and "Sheer Heart Attack", David Bowie's "Space Oddity", Lou Reed's "Transformer" and Iggy and The Stooges "Raw Power". He also directed several of David Bowie's early music videos, including those for "Life on Mars?", "The Jean Genie" and
"Space Oddity".

See Life On Mars? video here.

His book “Moonage Daydream: The Life and Times of Ziggy Stardust” features hundreds of photos of Bowie in his Ziggy period, and Rock was the only photographer to access all areas at the filming of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

In 2005, he released a photo book called “Glam! An Eyewitness Account”.
It documents the evolving glam and later punk movements.

The following interview is taken from, “Q & A With Mick Rock”.

“The aptly named Mick Rock was the go-to photographer of the glam scene, creating a visual record of the era's icons -- from David Bowie provocatively chewing on Mick Ronson's guitar strings to a slinky Iggy Pop on the cover of Raw Power, to the Frankensteinian shot of Lou Reed on Transformer.

The newly reissued photo book "Glam!: An Eyewitness Account" (originally published as "Blood and Glitter" in 2001) documents all the major players and brings the makeup-caked men, women, and not-quite-sure-what-they-are into focus. Here, Rock reminisces about those debaucherous years”.

E.W: In the intro to "Glam!," you write: "First you seduce the retina, then you subvert the other senses. The first rule of glam." What does that mean?
Mick Rock: That was how David Bowie operated in the early days: get people's attention by the way you looked. Once they were intrigued with that, then they'd start listening to the music. To some degree, that was always true in rock & roll -- look at Elvis Presley. With glam it was very self-conscious to tart yourself up, attract attention, and then deliver the goods.
E.W: Was it really as hedonistic and wild as your photos make it seem?
M.R: Oh, yes, people got away with all kinds of stuff, though the press didn't really pry into it too much.
E.W: What did they get away with?
M.R: I'm gonna leave that to you, darling! [Laughs]
E.W: C'mon!
M.R: You know, partner swapping, the multisexual thing, the kinky stuff started to come out. It was a great time to be young and out of order. It was absolutely self-indulgent, but it was very creative.
EW: You also write in the intro that you acquired a taste for makeup -- why did you try it out?
M.R: I liked the way it looked... and the girls found me more attractive. Glam was not just a gay thing, it was absolutely equally a heterosexual scene. And if you wanted to get near all the hip girls, you needed to be tarted up a bit.

Glam! An Eyewitness Account by Mick Rock is available from Amazon.

"We couldn't have pounced without Marc Bolan. The little imp opened the door. What was so great, however, was that we knew he hadn't got it quite right. Sort of Glam 1.0. We were straining in the wings with versions 1.01 and 1.02, while Marc was still struggling with satin. But boy, he really rocked. He did, Y'know"
David Bowie from the foreword to Glam! An Eyewitness Account.