“I have a certain indebtedness to the man who made rock ‘n’ roll style an artform, and the man who morphed into one of the most creative figures in post-modern Western culture,” wrote photographer Mick Rock about his friend David Bowie in the foreword to A Moonage Daydream – The Life And Times Of Ziggy Stardust.
First published by Rock and Bowie in 2002 as a highly coveted limited edition book in 2002, ‘A Moonage Daydream’ was more than just a collection of photographs of David Bowie during the period 1972 to 1973. Through Rock’s images, we were given access to a privileged, eyewitness account of a truly pivotal moment in music history and a vivid insight into Bowie’s creative transformation.
Trusted by Bowie in the same way as he trusted the likes of Mick Ronson, Rock, who passed away in 2021, was an important part of Bowie’s inner circle, touring with the band and capturing sensational live moments night after night. At the same time, he also was able to capture quieter, quotidian moments a world away from the bravado and intense drama of Bowie’s performances, candid fly-on-the-wall shots of moments of introspection or lightheartedness: in the studio, at home, off-stage.
To accompany a new Anniversary Edition of A Moonage Daydream, an exhibition at Marylebone’s Atlas Gallery presents thirty prints of key images taken by Rock. These are undoubtedly among the most enduring, memorable and recognisable photos taken of Bowie and his character Ziggy Stardust, responsible in many ways for creating the long shadow that Ziggy cast over popular music, fashion and Bowie’s 1970s career.
A Moonage Daydream – The Life And Times Of Ziggy Stardust will be re-published by Genesis in October 2022. The accompanying exhibition runs at Atlas Gallery until 21 September.
Words: Mat Smith