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19 November 2021

Mick Rock, Legendary David Bowie, Lou Reed Photographer Dies Aged 72

Mick Rock David Bowie Photographer Dies 72
Photograph: AF Archive/Alamy Stock Photo
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Legendary music photographer Mick Rock has died, aged 72. The photographer captured iconic images of artists in the seventies including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Queen, Sex Pistols and many more.

Rock’s family confirmed the news in a statement on the lensman’s official Twitter page earlier today (November 19).

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share our beloved psychedelic renegade Mick Rock has made the Jungian journey to the other side,” the statement began.

“Those who had the pleasure of existing in his orbit, know that Mick was always so much more than ‘The Man Who Shot the 70s.’ He was a photographic poet — a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his own delightfully outrageous way.”

It continued: “The stars seemed to effortlessly align for Mick when he was behind the camera; feeding off the unique charisma of his subjects electrified and energised him. His intent always intense. His focus always total.

“A man fascinated with image, he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus creating some of the most magnificent images rock music has ever seen.”

It concluded: “Let us not mourn the loss, but instead celebrate the fabulous life and extraordinary career of Michael David Rock. While you do so in your own way, we must ask that the privacy of his nearest and dearest be respected at this time. Therefore, there will be no further comments.” You can see the statement in full above.

Mick Rock was born in London in 1948 and shot to prominence in the seventies for his work with Bowie and others. Between 1972 and 1979, he was especially prolific and his photographs appeared on a number of album covers from the time including Queen II, Lou Reed’s Transformer and Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power.

David Bowie, Queen, Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Syd Barrett were among just some of the many musicians he captured in this era, but it was his work with Bowie that the musician was most renowned.

He continued to photograph musicians into his seventies, taking photographs of artists including Snoop Dogg, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Miley Cyrus and more.

Additionally, Rock was a prolific artist and also served as the chief photographer for the The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He published many books and exhibitions of his photography of the years and he was the subject of a documentary, SHOT!, in 2016.

Tributes to the late photographer have already begun to flood in, with Sharon Osbourne writing a touching tribute: “We lost a legend, a true artist @therealmickrock. His work will live on forever. There are too many epic photos to choose from, but I urge you to scroll through just a few of his greatest hits. All our love and respect to his family.”

David Bowie’s former bandmate Mike Garson said he was “so sad” to hear of Rock’s death, writing: “He was one of a kind with such an eye for aesthetics and seizing the right moments.

“He was also quite fun to travel with back in the days of the Spiders [From Mars]. Mick gave so much to this planet and he adored David. Mick’s journey shall continue.”

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