Renowned rock photographer Mick Rock has long been called ‘the Man who Shot the Seventies’. The Times of London has described him as ‘the music world’s top snapper’. His earliest iconic photos were taken of Syd Barrett in 1969 while Mick was a student at Cambridge University, but he came to the fore in 1972 when he became Bowie’s official photographer. For two years he documented the meteoric rise to stardom of Bowie’s legendary alter ego Ziggy Stardust, shooting album covers, posters, artwork and videos for Life on Mars and Space Oddity and Jean Genie, plus, of course, a huge archive of photographs.
Rock was instrumental in creating many classic rock n roll images throughout the 1970s, responsible for album covers such as Lou Reed’s ‘Transformer’, Iggy Pop’s ‘Raw Power’, Queen’s ‘Queen II’ and ‘Sheer Heart Attack’. Mick spent a lot of time in New York in the late 70s where he became very involved with the local ‘punk’ scene and extensively shot all the rising stars including The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie. His pictures, including The Ramones’ ‘End of the Century’, captured the revolutionary spirit of this groundbreaking period and made him the one of the most sought-after photographers in the world. He moved permanently to New York in 1982. Rock’s enthusiasm for his work has remained fresh and he continues to capture the musical spirit of succeeding eras through his photography with musicians throughout the 80’s and 90’s up to the present day.
Recent subjects include The Killers, The Scissor Sisters, Kate Moss, Kasabian, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, The Gossip, Michael Buble and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs amongst many others, as well as old friends Bowie, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Motley Crue and Iggy Pop. In recent years Rock 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). His massive retrospective exhibition (186 prints) at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Museum of Photography in 2003 was dubbed ‘one of the finest collections of pop art ever to reach these shores’ by the Japanese press. And in 2006 he received the Diesel U Music Legends Award for his contribution to music. He has had major exhibitions of his work in London, New York, Liverpool, Manchester, Berlin, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New Zealand. His upcoming publication: Exposed – Faces of Rock n Roll, will be released by Chronicle Books in Autumn 2010, and will feature many images of Mick’s classic subjects never previously published plus a selection of his recent photographs and many other unexpected photos from his extensive archive.