Bowie’d Over: Mick Rock and the Rise of Bowie

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The Rise of David Bowie. 1972-1973, courtesy of TASCHEN

Is there anything more captivating than David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust years? Today’s rock stars seems so dull, so conventional, in comparison — what’s a meat dress next to an androgynous, extraterrestrial rock star wearing a jumpsuit, flaming red hair, and makeup every bit as majestic as a mountain sunset? For an artist who has never ceased making great music while always being interesting, the Stardust era is my favorite Bowie iteration (close second: Absolute Beginners, a musical much overlooked but still brilliant). bowie taschen

The Rise of David Bowie. 1972-1973, courtesy of TASCHEN

So how fantastic that photographer Mick Rock’s new limited-edition book, The Rise of David Bowie: 1972-1973, offers an unprecedented look into the fabulous world of Bowie’s alien alter ego, featuring never-before-published photographs from Bowie’s Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars tour. the The book includes Rock’s (who was Bowie’s official photographer at the time) formal portraits, concert shots, and intimate moments with the musician.

bowie taschenThe Rise of David Bowie. 1972-1973, courtesy of TASCHEN

Perhaps the only thing better than seeing Bowie looking like the stunning heroine of a Kenneth Anger film is seeing him transform from a mere mortal into Ziggy during the quiet, backstage ritual of putting on his makeup, which Rock repeatedly documented. Looking at these images is like watching a celestial star being born.

taschengallery-fbThe scene at TASCHEN Gallery art opening, September 9, 2015

In conjunction with the book’s release is an exhibition of Rock’s photographs at the TASCHEN Gallery in Los Angeles, “Mick Rock: Shooting for Stardust, The Rise of David Bowie and Co.,” which along with the many photographs of Bowie, also features photos of the musician’s frequent collaborators and friends, such as Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

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UK Summer Tour, 1973 © Mick Rock, courtesy of TASCHEN

I dropped by the opening, but the line around the block kept me from seeing the images up close. At the very least, Rock’s photos have already inspired to pull out some old albums and dance around the house in my tightest, most sparkly jumpsuit.

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Scotland, May 1973 © Mick Rock, courtesy of TASCHEN

There’s still time to see the images for yourself! The show runs through October 11 at the gallery, 9070 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 90048. And if you haven’t checked out our Bowie release, click on album to give it a listen. 9661_300dpi

Lullabye Renditions of David Bowie

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