David Bowie: Starman, Shot By Mick Rock

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) has recently announced a new exhibition, David Bowie: Starman, Shot by Mick Rock opening July 1, 2017. Between 1972 and 1973, when David Bowie was redefining glam rock as the androgynous alien rock star Ziggy Stardust, fellow Londoner Mick Rock was the musician’s official photographer. Bowie told his manager at the time, “Mick sees me the way I see myself.”

David Bowie: Starman features 65 of Rock’s photographs that capture Bowie’s creativity and charisma, from dressing room shots of his transformation into Ziggy Stardust and live performances to private moments between gigs. “I think David trusted me,” reflects Rock. “I regarded myself as a guardian of his image, and that’s true to this day.”

Described as “the man who shot the Seventies,” Rock’s photos of other music icons – Lou Reed, Queen, Iggy Pop, and Blondie’s Debbie Harry – will also be on display. Rock, who was recently the subject of the documentary, SHOT! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock, also captured rare performance footage and interviews with Bowie, and directed his early music videos which will be featured in the exhibition.

The gallery will also include oral history interviews and an audio tour narrated by Rock who shares intimate accounts of his experiences with Bowie. In addition, Steve Fisk, co-producer of Nirvana’s Blew EP in collaboration with Seattle-based interactive producer Bill Ronan will compose an original exhibition soundtrack and create a multimedia installation that blends the sound and vision of Bowie’s glittery space-alien persona.

“When David made Ziggy Stardust, which is all about stardom, he was not a star,” says Rock. “That was the record that made him a star.”

David Bowie: Starman, Shot by Mick Rock will be on view at MoPOP through January 15, 2018.


Legendary rock photographer is often referred to as ‘The Man Who Shot the Seventies’, for his iconic images of David Bowie, Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Blondie, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and more. London born, he has resided in New York for the past 35 years. He has shot more than 100 album covers.

Rock’s recent subjects include Snoop Dogg, Father John Misty, Lenny Kravitz, Janelle Monáe, Jimmy Fallon, The Black Keys, Karen O, Ellie Goulding, Alicia Keys, Michael Bublé, Daft Punk, Perry Farrell, Mötley Crüe, TV On the Radio, Pharrell, Josh Groban, Flaming Lips, Nas, Rufus Wainwright, Kings of Leon, R Kelly, The Black Lips, Queens of the Stone Age, and others.

Rock was instrumental in creating many key rock ‘n’ roll images, such as album covers for Syd Barrett’s Madcap Laughs, Lou Reed’s Transformer and Coney Island Baby, Iggy and The Stooges’ Raw Power, Queen’s Queen II (recreated for their classic music video “Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Sheer Heart Attack, The Ramones End of the Century and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, among many others. He was the chief photographer on the films The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus. He recently shot special stills for the new TV version of Rocky Horror. He also produced and directed the seminal music videos for Bowie: “John, I’m Only Dancing,” “Jean Genie,” “Space Oddity,” and “Life On Mars.”

In recent years, he has published a series of books, mostly based on his classic images:

  • A Photographic Record 1969-1980 (foreword by Lou Reed) (Century 22 Books, 1995)
  • Glam: An Eyewitness Account (foreword by David Bowie) (Omnibus Books, 2006)
  • Psychedelic Renegades / Syd Barrett (Genesis Publications, 2002)
  • Moonage Daydream / Ziggy Stardust (with David Bowie) (Genesis Publications, 2002)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Eye (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2003)
  • Killer Queen (with Brian May and Roger Taylor) (Genesis Publications, 2003)
  • Picture This / Debbie Harry & Blondie (foreword by Debbie Harry) (Omnibus Books, 2004)
  • Raw Power / Iggy & The Stooges (foreword by Iggy Pop) (Omnibus Books, 2005)
  • Rocky Horror (foreword by Richard O’Brien) (Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2006)
  • Classic Queen (Sterling Press, 2007)
  • Tamashii: Mick Rock Meets Kanzaburo (Kabuki Theatre Photos)
    (Hachette Fujingaho, Japan, 2007)
  • Psychedelic Renegades (Gingko Press, 2007)
  • EXPOSED (Hardcover, Chronicle Books, 2010)
  • Transformer (with Lou Reed), (Genesis Publications 2013)
  • EXPOSED (Softcover, Palazzo Editions, 2014)


His latest publication, The Rise of David Bowie 1972-1973 (with David Bowie), (Taschen Books, published September 2015), a spectacular limited edition co-signed with Bowie, sold out just before Bowie’s death. It was Taschen’s fastest-ever selling limited edition publication. He is currently promoting the trade edition.

He is featured in an episode of The Red Bull Films series VISIONS OF GREATNESS, which was initially broadcast in the Autumn of 2016 and starred in the acclaimed Ovation Cable TV series in 2016, ON THE RECORD.

‘SHOT!’ a documentary about his career, produced by Vice Films and Straight Up Films, launched at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016 and opened in theaters in the Spring of 2017.  It will be screened at MoPOP during the opening of David Bowie: Starman, Shot By Mick Rock. The documentary is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures. Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said, “The number of iconic photos that Mick Rock has taken and the access to the most compelling figures of our time is staggering. This film beautifully realizes his journey.”

For more info, visit mickrock.com.

Report by mopop.org
Photo by mickrock.com