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Queen, David Bowie Photographer Takes Work On The Road

David Bowie and Freddie Mercury
Bryan Bedder / Gary Merrin, Getty Images

Mick Rock, dubbed “The Man Who Shot The ’70s,” is having his famous photographs of such rock legends as David Bowie, Queen and Iggy Pop displayed across the country in a traveling show called, fittingly, ‘Rocked.’ The show is being produced and hosted by the W Hotel chain.

Rock began taking pictures with a friend’s camera while studying language and literature at Cambridge University. He discovered he had a knack for the medium. Eventually he met “Davie Jones,” who, of course, would soon change his name to David Bowie.

“So I rode that wagon and I just was there,” he told NPR after his show’s opening in Washington, D.C. “I was not an outsider, This was my life, too. I didn’t play an instrument, but I lived the life: stay up all night, sleep all day.”

Befriending Bowie early in both of their careers gave Rock access into the nascent British glam scene. Some of Rock’s photos would eventually grace the covers of such albums as ‘Queen II,’ Syd Barrett’s ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and Lou Reed‘s ‘Transformer.’

Rock owes much of his success to his passion for the artists and his own sense of individualism. “There was not a scintilla of cynicism in me about anything,” Rock continues. I was not owned by a corporation, I was not owned by a publication. My loyalties were always to the acts. I was following my enthusiasm. I was not [thinking] ‘I am an image master.’ We’re talking about some kid in his 20s.”

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