David Bowie, a rocker with as many facets as a gemstone, churned out new personas as quickly as he did albums. Part of that image-making stemmed from all the memorable photographs of Bowie that emerged over the years, both on the covers of those albums and elsewhere. In more than one case, Brian Duffy was the man behind the camera capturing those iconic shots.
Duffy, an influential fashion photographer, photographed Bowie several times throughout the 1970s, a collaboration that yielded art for albums like Aladdin Sane and Lodger. The former, an instantly recognizable portrait of Bowie in Ziggy Stardust mode, with eyes closed, a shock of red hair, and a multicolor lightning bolt flashing across his face, came to be known as the “The Mona Lisa of Pop,” a formulation in which Duffy becomes a sort of modern-day fashion-forward Da Vinci.
Duffy and Bowie’s collaborations–five in all, between 1972 and 1980–are the subject of a forthcoming show at the Foam photography museum in Amsterdam. Bowie by Duffy, which recently wrapped up a stint at the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds, features never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes images from the sessions, including contact sheets, Polaroids, and other snapshots.
If the massive retrospective currently on exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum celebrates Bowie in all his theatrical splendor, think of these shots as a rare glimpse behind the stage curtains.
Bowie by Duffy–Photographs ’72-’80 opens on June 21 at Foam, in Amsterdam.
All images copyright Duffy Archive