Mick Rock, legendary photographer behind iconic images of Bowie, Lou Reed and more, dies at 72
You might not know Mick Rock by name, but you’ve seen his photos on iconic album covers: “Transformer” by Lou Reed, “Foreigner” by Cat Stevens, “Pinups” by David Bowie, “I Love Rock and Roll ”by Joan Jett and“ Queen II, ”which has become a familiar part of the group’s“ Bohemian Rhapsody ”video, to name a few.
Michael David Rock has photographed a rock and roll who’s who including the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Roxy Music and Blondie. He was considered not only a photographer among rock stars, but a rock star among photographers.
The beloved British photographer died on Thursday at the age of 72.
“Shocked, stunned and heartbroken by the death of my dear friend and poet of the lens”, tweeted singer-songwriter Richard Barone, who founded the Hoboken Bongos.
Rock “lived up to his name and all the names he captured,” noted author Andrew Stafford.
Rock was attending Cambridge University when he discovered photography. He quickly befriended musicians, including former Pink Floyd singer Syd Barrett.
He got his break in 1972 when he met David Bowie, who has become the focal point of some of Rock’s most memorable shots as Ziggy Stardust. Rock also directed Bowie’s “Life on Mars”, “John, I’m Only Dancing”, “Jean Genie” and “Space Oddity” videos.
Rock and roll fans of the 70s will no doubt remember the rock group photo of Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. He was also the backstage photographer on the set of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
Rock went on to photograph REM, Madonna and Motley Crue – and, most recently, Lenny Kravitz, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus.
“A camera is a wonderful ally. It requires minimal maintenance and provides access to an endless world of images,” reads Rock’s latest tweet. “Follow the frame, I say.”
“I am very playful, very open-minded, very aware of the way people move, the way they look, their expressions or their angles,” read a previous article. “After a while, it’s almost like the pictures are taking themselves. That’s when the magic starts to happen. It’s not complicated.” Posts on Twitter and Instagram announced Rock’s death Thursday night.
“Those who have had the pleasure of existing in his orbit, know that Mick has always been much more than ‘the man who turned the 70s’,” they read. “He was a photographic poet – a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his delightfully outrageous way.” It was a mythical creature; things like we’ll never see again. “
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