Often referred to as The Man Who Shot the Seventies, legendary rock and roll photographer Mick Rock first met David Bowie in early 1972. Most of the memorable images of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust were shot by Mick Rock in his capacity as the official Bowie photographer.
Rock was instrumental in creating many other key rock ’n’ roll images such as album covers for Syd Barrett’s The 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 also produced and directed the seminal music videos for Bowie to be found on Bowie’s Sound and Vision DVD collection: ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’, ‘Jean Genie’, ‘Space Oddity’, and ‘Life On Mars’.
In recent years he has published a series of books, many based on his classic images:
A Photographic Record 1969–1980 (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), 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).
Upcoming publication: Exposed – Faces of Rock n Roll (Chronicle Books, Autumn 2010), which will feature many images of Mick’s classic subjects never previously published plus a selection of his recent photos and many other unexpected photos from his extensive archive.
Mick’s massive 2003 (186 prints) retrospective exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography was dubbed ‘one of the finest collections of pop art to ever reach these shores’ in the local press. Mick Rock’s enthusiasm for his art has remained undimmed and he has continues to capture the musical spirit of succeeding eras through his work with musicians of the 1980’s and 1990’s and the new millennium. His 150 print exhibition at Manchester, England’s Urbis Cultural Centre, which ran from Sept 2005 to Jan 2006, was voted Manchester’s number one exhibition for 2006, and after reviewing it the London Times dubbed him ‘the music world’s top snapper’. In the feature Mick, talking about how he shoots, is quoted: ‘I’ve never felt like a voyeur, although I’ve certainly done plenty of looking! I work from the inside out. Like a cook I gather all the ingredients and keep mixing and stirring and tasting until this kind of effluvia starts to rise, then I’m off to the races. It’s an addictive kind of a feeling that I need a regular shot of otherwise I don’t feel right…’
He received the Diesel U Music Legends Award for his contribution to Music in Autum 2006.
An exhibition of his Kate Moss photos (with a few classics of Debbie Harry, Bowie, Iggy Pop, Syd Barrett etc), called ‘Rock n Roll Kate’ ran from February through June 2009 in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and was praised in the Dutch press as ‘hot, sexy, totally rock n roll, and probably truer to the real spirit of the Divine Ms Moss than any other photos ever taken of her. They rank up there with the best of Mick’s classic imagery. Mick Rock meets Kate Moss, a legendary collision of photographic energies… This exhibit is a must-see for all fans who know how to rock!’
He has had major exhibitions in London, Liverpool, Berlin, Manchester, New York, Los Angeles, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Tokyo, San Francisco, Las Vegas with a worldwide travelling exhibition for 2010/2011 to coincide with the publication of his new book, starting in New York, L.A, London and Buenos Aires.
His recent subjects include Snoop Dogg, Maxwell, Alicia Keys, The Gossip, Lady Gaga, The Killers, The Scissor Sisters, Michael Buble, Michael Stipe, Kate Moss, The YeahYeahYeahs, The Chemical Brothers, Janelle Monae, Queens of the Stone Age, Daft Punk, Kasabian, Snow Patrol, Daniel Merriweather, Black Keys, Hall & Oates, Peter,Bjorn and John, MGMT, Alejandro Escovedo, Pete Yorn, Gavin Degraw, Peaches, Fat Joe, Rhymefest, Nas, Pharrell, Q-Tip, Jane’s Addiction, Tom Stoppard and old friends Bowie, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Motley Crue and Iggy Pop.